Michael W. Smith in Concert – 27 years later!

You could call it a reunion – of sorts. Michael W. Smith came to Marion, Indiana in the Spring of 1987. Invited by then Marion College Student Activities Council, this concert was too big for the campus. “We held the concert at the old Memorial Coliseum, what is now the Star Financial YMCA” says Rick Carder, current IWU Alumni Director. It was under his student leadership with the Student Activity Council that he came to town.

This year’s Homecoming on October 4 will feature Smith in concert along with IWU’s Chorale. “I think that this year’s experience would completely blow him away at how much we (IWU) have changed in 27 years. The concert venue now is a 3,800 seat Chapel-Auditorium” says Carder.

Michael W Smith has always had a gift for delivering songs that capture the hearts of the listener and give voice to their thoughts and feelings. During his three-decade career, the Kenova, West Virginia native has shaped the Christian music landscape with such songs as “Friends,” which was named the No. 1 Song of All Time by CCM Magazine and “Healing Rain,” a powerful anthem that remains one of the best-loved songs in his extensive repertoire.

7:30 PM

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Phillippe Performing Arts Center Box Office at 765-677-2630 or online.

Ticket prices are $45, $25, $20, and $15

Purchase tickets here!


Scaling the Heights

On occasion we have invited guest bloggers to help contribute to the story of IWU. Guest writers provide a special glimpse into the life at IWU and even helping to define the mission of IWU. Today we have an article that can be read as an inspiring story, even a devotional thought. Mike and Cindy Helvie ’81 are missionaries to with Global Partners. Their ministry has taken them all around the world to far reaching places as Zambia. Last year they lead a team of students to Zambia to study abroad. Their experiences and mentorship of students has defined a generation of young leaders serving as nurses with a profound experience of studying with Mike and Cindy.

Serving as Missionaries in Residence provides a rich ministry to students at IWU. Weekly you can see them meeting with students at McConn Coffee Co on the campus of IWU. They are mentoring and training our students! They are a welcomed relationship and resource to students.

Today, Cindy is our guest blogger. That you for sharing your experiences from your summer.

Written by Cindy Helvie ’81

On August 29th 2014 I stood on the top South Sister a 10,380-foot mountain, in Oregon. The sky was clear and blue and I looked down on rolling hills, smaller mountains and the steep red lava rock path I had just travelled. In my mind I kept saying, “I made it!” I was also excited that five of the seven ladies that started out also made it to the summit. I was with a group called “Northwest Women” each they year hiked or climbed to raise money for women in other countries. This year we raised money for World Hope’s Anti-Trafficking program in Sierra Leone.

Kay Winters, a pastor’s wife from New Creation Wesleyan Church was our leader. Kay had trained in mountaineering and was our coach for our preparation and climb. I took the preparation very seriously; if I was to succeed I knew I needed to be ready. The other ladies participated in five training hikes in Oregon. These hikes increased in mileage and elevation preparing the body for the endurance needed to climb in thinner air. I was not able to do those since I was in Indiana. My training needed to be in Marion.

I started in April by running on the IWU track. I remember the first lap I jogged. I didn’t think I could make it. I was out of breath, nauseated and my chest hurt. But I didn’t stop. I kept going and it got easier I added a lap each week, until I could jog 3 miles or 12 laps. Under our leaders direction I did the Stairmaster and push-ups and sit-ups to build my strength to carry the 20-25lb pack.

I needed to buy equipment. I looked for hiking boots in Marion and couldn’t find them. I had to travel to Indianapolis. The thick high-topped boots felt strange on my feet used to summer sandals. I had to break the boots in so I hiked in Mater Park with my boots and pack loaded with books. People looked at me strangely. One lady saw me and told her husband, “Why is that lady hiking with a pack, does she need to stretch her back?” I told an older man who was walking in the park that I was training for a climb. He saw me at the end of my training hike and asked, “Are you feeling ready to climb that mount’ in?”

On August 26th I flew to Oregon, a long time friend who had climbed two years ago helped me with additional equipment; a cold weather sleeping bag, whistle and rain coat. Our group drove to Bend, Oregon and went in to eat lunch our last “real” meal for three days. We would eat dehydrated foods at the campsite. As we came out of the restaurant the pastor who was our “support team” looked at his tire and realized it was low. When he put air in he could hear the air whooshing out. So we had an unplanned stop at the tire shop and sat while they bought two new tires for the truck.

This gave us a late start on our hike to the primitive campsite. I put on my 27lb pack; it was so heavy it seemed to pull me backwards! At 5,000 feet each step required exertion. We hiked 2 ½ miles in three hours. I wondered “How are we going to summit the mountain tomorrow?” We took out our tents, stoves, extra water, and air mattresses out of our packs. We walked down to the lake; collected water, filtered it, and boiled it to add to our freeze dried packs of food. It was 9 p.m.; we got our packs ready and crawled in our tents. In the night I heard the sounds of the wilderness, it sounded like animals, I pictured bears, sniffing around our tents. Then I shone a light and saw it was only the wind gently lifting and dropping the tent flaps.

I woke at 5am put my boots on and got my daypack ready with gloves, hat, down coat, climbing poles, high protein food, and three liters of water. We shared a verse together had a prayer and set out. We walked and walked, first the trail was over gently rolling hills then it began to get steeper. We walked through a boulder field, then over red lava rock path that was littered with “scree” with the mountain falling away on either side. The “scree” is a combination of sand, gravel and loose rock; it got in boots and made hiking difficult. Yet we kept climbing. The hardest part was at 9,700 feet, we had been walking over six hours, the path was steep, the red rock scree was deep, the wind was blowing, and there was no cover. I thought, “I really am on a mountain.”

I remember how I kept jogging on the red IWU track and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. The preparation on the track at IWU prepared me to reach the mountaintop. The preparation I did at IWU when I was a student over thirty years ago has prepared me for life as a nurse and missionary. It also prepared me spiritually, as I hiked a repeated a verse, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength they will mount up on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not faint.” I thank God that He did renew my strength and take me to the heights, I reached the summit! IWU is a place of preparation; you never know where it will take you!

See picture here of Cindy on top of the mountain

Examples of a World Changer

In a recent chapel service at Indiana Wesleyan University, Dr. Keith Newman, CEO of Residential Education/Executive Vice President, spoke to the new students – the class of 2018 – sharing stories of alumni who have lived out the mission of IWU.

The University’s mission statement says, “Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship, and leadership.”

Here are excerpts from a few of the stories that Dr. Newman shared.

Erik ’11
Eric is a fifth-grade teacher at Deer Run Elementary in Indianapolis. He graduated from IWU in April 2011. As a student, he served in the Dean of the Chapel’s Office as the Outreach Coordinator. He also worked for Conference Services and in the Rec and Wellness Center and was the Director of Promotion for Fusion and the Outreach Coordinator for Bowman House. Erik is changing the world one fifth grader at a time. He writes, “I get to live out my dream of teaching in a classroom! From the Revolutionary War to learning the ABCs, I do all I can to make the greatest learning experience for my students!”
Erik found his mission at IWU and is living it out in Indianapolis.

Cheryl Becket ’00
Cheryl was a PK, a preacher’s kid. She first lived in Evans Hall and then later in the Cox Apartments. She was a biology major, a bit of a science geek, a straight A student, and a valedictorian. IWU’s Christian commitment, strong biology department, scholarships and proximity to her home in northern Indiana were all a part of her decision to come to IWU. Cheryl studied a lot, but she was always willing to help others. She couldn’t say no. She was humble and disciplined and very determined. When she set her mind to something, she got it done. She wore sweatshirts and hoodies because she was always cold. Her roommates remember her studying with the hoodie tied tight so that all you could see was her face. Cheryl loved ice cream and was always up for a trip to Ivanhoe’s, a local attraction
Although Cheryl was a serious student, she was also very spontaneous, at times a bit goofy and loved a dare. She once ate a pepper in a jar at Steak ‘n Shake and her face turned assorted shades of red. Another time she and a friend tested Alka Seltzer and Sprite in their mouths to see who could keep it in longer. One of her favorite classes was entomology (she led a petition drive to get the class started). She spent three months bug hunting, including a camping trip to Tennessee where she accidentally pitched her tent on an anthill. She woke up to find the ants trying to carry her pinned bugs away. Cheryl did an IWU summer trip to Kenya where she collected more bugs but mostly fell in love with the people, especially the children. She loved candy corn in the fall. Her roommates were reluctant to tell me this, but they admitted that she once kept a cat in her room for a week and tried to keep it from meowing. Cheryl spent hours and hours in the lab. She loved the outdoors; hiking, exploring, discovering new places; always up for an adventure, she loved experiencing God’s creation. Cheryl loved her family and made quick weekend trips home to see them.
• She was handy and liked to fix things.
• She also liked to rescue things, such as a goldfish that kept jumping out of its bowl. Once the goldfish jumped into the sink and down the drain. Cheryl took the plumbing apart and managed to save the goldfish.
• And last, but certainly not least, Cheryl didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life when she was at IWU, but she loved God and was content to let Him lead her.
Here’s what you probably don’t know about Cheryl. In the summer of 2010, she and nine other medical aid workers were executed by the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan. Cheryl had been serving in Afghanistan for six years, helping mothers learn pre-natal care and teaching gardening for the purpose of growing more sustainable crops. Cheryl was 32 years old. Her mission was not as long as we would have liked, but she finished her race well and went to receive her reward as a faithful servant.

Dr. Darrell ‘73
Darrell came to IWU as a transfer student. He was an orphan who had been raised by his aunt and uncle. With little money, Darrell would work as many hours as he could, dropping out some semesters in order to work so that he could go back the following semester. His plan was to teach high school biology because he loved the sciences. While working at Marion General Hospital one semester, a doctor asked him what his plans were after graduation. Darrell shared his goal and was surprised by the doctor’s response. You see, the doctor saw something in Darrell that he didn’t see in himself. He told Darrell that he was going to medical school. Darrell explained his financial situation and his family situation, but the doctor was insistent and persistent. Today, on any given day, Dr. Darrell Hermann will be operating on some of the tiniest people on the planet. He is a gifted and skilled pediatric surgeon making a difference because someone helped him find his mission in life.

Francis Mustapha ‘72
You will have a chance to meet him during the spring semester, so I won’t say much here except to introduce this exceptional man to you. He graduated from IWU in 1972, and came to campus as a soccer player. From IWU he went on to a distinguished career as a high school biology teacher in Fort Wayne. Listen to these words about his journey, “In the West African village where I was born, no one could read or write. When a school opened in a nearby town and I was sent there, it changed my life! Those teachers, though imperfect, opened up the world for me.”
His dream has been to build a school in the village where he was born, and that dream is becoming a reality. You will meet Mr. Mustapha this year and hear first-hand his world changing story.

Dr. Kellie Haworth, ’00
This year’s Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient.
Again, this October in chapel you will hear Dr. Haworth, a medical doctor speak. She graduated from IWU 14 years ago with a bachelor of science degree in Chemistry and pre-medicine. She was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army where she rose to the rank of Major. Currently she is at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Kellie is a wife, a mother, a medical doctor, a researcher and she has an incredible story of how God called her and is using her through her work with pediatric oncology. I can hardly wait for you to hear her share her journey with you.

Ryan ‘00
Ryan has been a friend for 11 years. He is Canadian and came to Christ in his late teens. His desire to learn more about God and to tell others about his newfound faith led him to IWU where he learned about missions and opportunities available to serve God cross-culturally. During his years at IWU, God called Ryan to serve as a missionary. After serving for a number of years as the director of housing at another Christian university where I first met him, Ryan and Sarah, and their four children went to serve in Nicaragua. I have the privilege of receiving their prayer newsletters, and it is amazing to read how God is using them despite the hardships of raising a family in such a challenging environment.

Brandon Beachy ’09 – Atlanta Braves
Brandon came to IWU as a power-hitting third baseman – and a pre-law major – from Northwestern High School in Kokomo, Indiana. He took up relief pitching his freshman year and progressed to the point of throwing 90 mph fastballs. The summer before his junior year, a freak fireworks accident on the Fourth of July caused his family home to burn to the ground. Brandon suffered second- and third-degree burns on his back, shoulders and bottoms of his feet. When he came back to campus that fall, he put on the facade of moving on but was carrying the weight of guilt and blame for the loss of his family’s house. It was after a particularly angry practice that God spoke to Brandon and made him realize that he needed to forgive himself in order to feel the amazing grace of Jesus Christ.

The following summer, Brandon played in a baseball league in Virginia. An Atlanta Braves scout happened to see him pitch one night and convinced the Braves to sign him to a free agent contract. Two years later he had flown through the minor leagues, led all minor leagues in ERA and was called up to the Braves at the end of the season as an emergency replacement starter in a critical game.

The next season he made the Braves starting rotation and was leading the National League in ERA in 2012 when he tore a ligament in his elbow which required Tommy John surgery. He tore the same ligament again this spring and is currently undergoing rehabilitation from his second Tommy John surgery.

Brandon has consistently talked about how the Lord has taught him to appreciate and value everything. Listen to what Brandon says about his experiences. “How can I question the Lord now just because things are a little rough? He has written some great chapters in my life book recently, and now I have to embrace this new chapter even though it is hard to see a good ending some days. My identity is in Him and not in what I do, so whatever happens with baseball I have so much to be thankful for.”

There are many wonderful stories being shared by more than 75,000 alumni around the world. Many of our alumni are making impacts every day. We would love to hear what you are doing, so keep us informed! We also invite you to pray for our current students as they begin classes.



Marion, IN (June 11, 2014) – What is this housing assistance program designed to retain an educated workforce in Grant County? How do local employers benefit? Grant for Grads is an initiative of the Grant County Economic Growth Council, administered by Affordable Housing & Community Development Corporation, to provide financial assistance to qualified graduates of universities, colleges, or technical schools who choose to live and work in Grant County.

As of April 2014, Grant for Grads has given 24 rental incentives and 32 down payment incentives to recent college graduates. Of the home purchases assisted, one home was a new construction and two were substantial home rehabilitations, which promotes Grant County’s residential climate. The program targets graduates of Indiana Wesleyan, Taylor University, Ivy Tech of Marion, and others who are currently employed or have accepted a full-time job offer in Grant County; however, the program has aided graduates of over 15 different universities, revealing that young professionals, from the area or new, are calling Grant County “home”.

“This is a great program! I am very impressed that Grant County is offering an incentive to prevent brain drain,” noted a 2012 Ball State graduate.

Grant for Grads offers Grant County home buyers up to $5,000 to cover the cost of down payments and/or closing costs. Individuals renting apartments or homes are offered a 20% reduction in monthly rent payments, benefitting renters up to $2,500. In addition to financial support, Grant for Grads provides fundamental homeowner education classes to further enrich the experience of living in Grant County.

“We love our new home, and you guys made it happen! Thank you for providing homeowner education,” expressed Tyler Shirley, a Grant for Grads recipient.

Local employers benefit from the educated workforce kept in Grant County; in addition, employers can attract young professionals by using Grant for Grads as a relocation perk. Through the Grant for Grads program, the Grant County Economic Growth Council and Affordable Housing Corporation are working together to make Grant County a better place to live, work, play, and stay.

For more information on the Grant for Grads program, visit the Growth Council’s website: Grant For Grads



IWU Hosts Transition to Nursing Informational Meeting

Indiana Wesleyan University’s Transition To Nursing (TTN) program is hosting an information session on Friday, July 25 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in room 143 of Elder Hall on the main Marion campus.

TTN is an accelerated program offering anyone with a bachelor’s degree the chance to become a nurse in just 14 months. The classes equip students with a foundational education in nursing skills and dispositions, leadership and nursing research in the clinical setting. Graduates, who receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, could earn first-year salaries in the neighborhood of $50,000. The program can also prepare students for graduate education.

The information session will discuss admission criteria and the structure and organization of the program, and offer a look at the calendar and cost involved in getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. There will also be a short Q&A session and a tour of the facilities.

“The Transition to Nursing program at Indiana Wesleyan University provided me with the opportunity to shift my career focus into the nursing field while providing an accelerated, high quality, Christ-centered education,” said TTN graduate David Thrush.

For more information, contact Rita Duchane, TTN program assistant, at rita.duchane@indwes.edu or 765-677-2431.

Transition To Nursing

Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church. The University, founded in 1920, is committed to global liberal arts and professional education. Nearly 3,000 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University’s main campus in Marion, Indiana. Nearly 12,500 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online.


IWU to acquire programs from Laurel University.

In June 2013, Laurel University (formally John Wesley College, High Point, N.C) approached IWU with the offer for us to take over programs that specifically serve international students. These programs have a long history of offering courses in several Spanish speaking countries and in Haiti.

“From early conversations the mission fit was evident and the call to action was undeniable.” Says Dr. Brock Reiman, Vice President of Academic Affairs, College of Adult and Professional Studies (CAPS).

In addition to four current Laurel University employees, there are four degree programs that will come to us from Laurel, serving approximately 500 students. These programs are:

AA in Theological Studies
BA in Theological Studies
Master in Theological Studies
MEd in Christian Education

Dr. Wayne Schmidt, Vice President for the Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University says, “This is a very significant step forward for our University and The Wesleyan Church.” This, according to Dr. Paul Garverick, who worked alongside an outstanding team to develop this unique relationship and programs “…will be fully accredited under IWU’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) umbrella and will be IWU degrees.” An interesting aspect to this new opportunity includes ministry training as well. Garverick comments that in The Wesleyan Church “they would qualify for Ordination and licensing courses, however the courses will need to be reviewed by Education and Clergy Development Office at Headquarters.”

As of July 1, these programs will become part of the College of Adult and Professional Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University. This acquisition is an historic event full of incredible possibilities and influence that we can only imagine. Please pray for a smooth transition for all these students as we introduce them to Indiana Wesleyan University!

On an additional note, Dr. Bob Brumley has accepted the position of Director, Division of Global Academic Programs (GAP) with IWU. In this role he will coordinate, with the other CAPS academic units, the delivery of degree programs in various international locations. Dr. Brumley will begin his duties on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at the Miami, Florida office. Dr. Brumley earned his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in Educational Administration and Higher Education.

Dr. Bob Brumley comes to Indiana Wesleyan University with an extensive background in higher education, pastoral ministry and missions. Most recently, he served as the Dean of Education at Laurel University as well as the Director of Laurel’s International Division office in Miami, Florida.


School of Nursing Vice President named and the Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing

Dr. Barbara Ihrke ’93 has been given a new title, Vice President of Academic Affairs for the School of Nursing. This change is reflective of the enormous success and growth the School of Nursing is experiencing under Dr. Ihrke’s leadership.

Dr. Ihrke has been with IWU since 1994 and assumed leadership of the School of Nursing in 2009. SON has seen significant growth under Dr. Ihrke’s leadership, with enrollment growth of 34% and the development and implementation of multiple new programs. In addition, Dr. Ihrke was instrumental in the planning of the Ott Science and Nursing building.

Dr. Ihrke holds a Doctorate from Purdue University with a focus on Curriculum & Instruction. International travel with students is a passion of Dr. Ihrke’s. She is a strong believer that modeling transcultural nursing, even though a challenge, permits students opportunities to understand cultural concepts. She has traveled with students to Dominican Republic, El Salvador, England, Guatemala, Ireland, Malawi, Nicaragua, Russia, Scotland and Yucatan.

She has also been instrumental in the development of the faculty/student exchange with Shenyang Medical College (School of Nursing). In addition, Barbara facilitated a team and academic affiliation with St. George’s University for Post-licensure nursing.

Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing Naming

During the recent naming of the Ott Hall Sciences and Nursing Building, Dr. Ihrke shared from her perspective over the many years at IWU. “The commitment to high quality, patient-centered education for example BSN, MSN, DNP has not changed.” As she reminded the audience that in 1992 we had one small lab with four beds, the expansion of the new building now includes a large lab with multiple rooms, larger than small critical access hospitals.

20140612-105734.jpg IWU President Dr. David Wright ’77 with Gary and Connie Ott ’74

Dr. Ihrke spoke about the commitment to things that have not changed over the years;

The commitment to spiritual care – for each student, for each patient has not changed. The integration of faith into the classroom, the clinical setting, and into life has been continued since the beginning of nursing education at Marion College. Nikki Rodriguez-Borasz, a recent graduate was honored by Wright State University as a Cameo of Caring© recipient for exemplifying compassion and caring in the nursing profession

The commitment to Transcultural Nursing has not changed. Since the first class 1975, students have had required experiences with patients in a variety of settings – locally, nationally, and globally. The goal has always been to provide culturally appropriate care to individuals. Wes – personal nurse of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Jake, missionary nurse in Mali, Africa, Charissa, nurse on a Mercy Ship in Africa, and Linda Craft, DON at Mary Breckinridge Hospital in Hyde, KY.

Ending the naming ceremony Dr. Ihrke spoke about how truly blessed we are. On behalf of the IWU faculty and staff of the School of Nursing she thanked those in attendance as well as Gary and Connie Ott ’74.

Building Video Feed

For more information on registering for School of Nursing – School of Nursing


Tours of the building will be available during Homecoming on October 2-4
The Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing Building Dedication Ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Oct 2 at 11:00 AM.

Communicating the IWU Spirit in the Workplace and Throughout the World.

World Changer in Comics!

This week you may have noticed as you thumb through the newspaper comic-strips a bit of a message branded IWU. You may have seen the Hi & Lois comic strip and may in fact be one of your favorites as I know it is one of mine. It is a favorite not only because of the content that it represents but also because of my love for Indiana Weslyan University.

Eric Reaves graduate of 1988 has been drawing pictures practically his whole life. The most recent years he is one of the main contributors to a comic strip that we all have come to enjoy, Hi & Lois. If you go to their main webpage you will read biographical information of The Creators of this comic strip and read a bit about an alum that is doing extraordinary things through his God-given talent. “Eric started out his career as a high school teacher, followed by a position as a Creative Director for a top apparel manufacturer. There he created artwork for Disney, Warner Bros., Nintendo, Barbie and several other top brands. In 1994 he began cartooning professionally.” Having several distinctions and honors has placed him in a very unique opportunities to express his creative side as well representing a World Changer. Honored as the 2007 Hoosier State Press Associations Editorial Cartoonist of the Year, Eric’s editorial cartoons have appeared in the many Newspapers as well as other publications.

He is served as an assistant cartoonist for the comic strip, Garfield, from 1994 until joining Browne Creative Enterprises. A local hometown hero of sorts however he has raised the attention of Indiana Wesleyan as well.

You may notice the subtlety get it stands out to me that Eric’s love for the University, his alma mater has been crafted into the comic strip.

Again quoting from The Creators of Hi & Lois, “In 2009 he began helping Chance Browne draw the Hi & Lois comic strip to join forces with Brown Creator Enterprises full-time and 2012. Having been a lifelong fan of Dik Brown’s art, Eric describes drawing Dik’s character as, “a humbling, yet daily thrill!”

You may wonder how being a World Changer can enter into the commonplace, like work, yet Eric makes it look easy. He weaves his comics into, at times, political satire yet also giving opportunity to express his love and appreciation for the heritage and legacy as an Indiana Wesleyan grad. “Sharing with others your love for your alma mater can be woven in every opportunity that you have,” says Rick Carder, Director of Alumni Relations. “I love hearing in promoting the stories of our alumni. They are what best reflects the mission of this wonderful institution.” Eric encourages all of us to reflect the very essence and heritage of this fine institution called Indiana Wesleyan University.

Further demonstrating his commitment to IWU, on occasion Eric is an adjunct faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University. He and his wife of over 25 years have five children. One of his children, Cody is a graduate of IWU from 2013. Recently his wife Lori has joined the faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion Campus. She earned her Doctorate of Social Work from Capella University.

Images used with permission by King Features Syndicate
Hi & Lois


Alumni Story – Kyle Courtright ’05

Guest Writer – A personal testimony

There were so many unknowns going into attending IWU. What am I going to do with my major? What kind of job will I have? Will I even enjoy that job once I get it? These were the big questions swirling around in my head as I started a brand new, unknown chapter of my life at Indiana Wesleyan University.
After graduating from IWU in 2009 with a degree in Computer Graphics, it became very clear that my dream was to run my own graphic design company. This, however, wasn’t my dream as a scrawny, wide-eyed freshman in 2005. At the beginning of my freshman year, I knew what my major would be and thought I had a decent idea of what I wanted to do after graduation. I had no idea how much I would be molded and shaped along the way.
Those four years had ups and downs, with a lot of work in between. All the classes, tests and projects proved to be the key in my development as a graphic designer. Professors like Rudy and Mazellan are just a couple people who cared enough to take the time to give their expert advice and wisdom to help prepare me for the next step. Professor Rudy was that advisor and teacher who helped guide me along the way. He let me know what to expect in the graphic design industry and how to build my own website from scratch. Professor Mazellan gave me the tools and confidence to start my own business. Both of these men genuinely wanted me to live my dream after graduation.
A job opportunity to be the graphic designer for McConn Coffee Company opened up. They contacted me a couple days later to offer me the position. McConn added valuable experience as I learned more about time management and how to efficiently juggle several projects at one time. McConn would also prove to be a great resume addition as my time at IWU came to a close.
It was the big day. Graduation day came so quickly but I felt ready for the unknown. My peers and I switched our tassels from one side to the other, met with our families and headed out into “the real world”. I got in my car, turned the key and realized the battery was dead. My girlfriend at the time and soon to be wife brought her car over and I hooked up the jumper cables.
Everything pretty standard so far right? I started the car and heard a loud popping noise. I got out and saw the front of my car completely engulfed in flames. People in the parking lot made a perimeter and the Marion fire department rolled in. Everything (and everybody) was okay in the end and now I check twice before hooking up jumper cables. All I can say was that it was a rough start to a real world experience. I could only just watch as my only means of transportation went up in flames.
A couple months after graduation I was offered a graphic design position and soon after I was engaged to my wife Paige. I was so thankful for the opportunity during a very difficult economic time to find a job. Since then, I have had the chance to work for several great companies along the way. These companies were stepping stones toward my dream. Over the next fourteen months I decided to grow my graphic design company Courtright Design while keeping my full time job.
From the onset, Courtright Design couldn’t even be considered a small business. It was more like an idea; an idea that had a logo, website and a few customers here or there. I worked hard to build traffic to the website and began to gain some consistent clients that really helped to build a base for the business. Word of mouth was my only marketing tool. Over time the client base grew at a fast pace and the traffic to the website gained some good momentum. I began to realize all the hard work was paying off! In January 2012, Paige wanted to begin working for the business and took on the design work for one of our biggest clients. Over time, my dream became hers and we absolutely have loved working from home together building our business.
In January 2013, the dream became a reality. My wife and I sat down at a local burger joint and made the decision to resign from my other steady job and run Courtright Design completely “cold turkey” as we called it. It’s been one year since we made that decision and we haven’t looked back. The preparation that IWU provided was invaluable. To go from a graduate with a dream, to an entrepreneur living that dream, is beyond words. Courtright Design continues to grow. We have had the opportunity to do work for hundreds of clients from small businesses and startups to national brands, organizations and universities across the country and throughout the world. More recently we had the opportunity to launch an ecommerce website called the Cre8 Design Store in order to more effectively provide small businesses and startups with a high quality, affordable logo design solution.
I can say with full confidence that none of this would be possible without God opening doors and being so faithful to provide and grow our business. Paige and I often talk about how grateful we are for His continual blessings throughout this journey. The road has been filled with ups and downs, successes and failures. We know that everything we have is His and we strive daily to be good stewards of the business that He has blessed us with. Indiana Wesleyan University provided the solid education and spark to help me realize my dream. Starting out, I wanted a job. By graduation day, I had a dream. The dream became reality and the unknowns became known.

Kyle Courtright, Courtright Design LLC


Homecoming 2014 – October 3 & 4. Join IWU young alumni like Kyle and IWU’s McConn Baristas and other former McConn employees for a reunion (including alumni of the former Common Grounds)

Newest Residential #IWUGrad Receive Fond Farewells

The Residential Class of 2014 celebrates together for a final class dinner hosted by the IWU Alumni Association. The dinner included giveaway items, prayers, Friday Night Live (FNL) video flashback, President Dr. David Wright speaking and a closing prayer by Millie Troyer, Alumni Director Emeritus. Keith Newman, CEO Residential Education, Executive Vice President also added comments and offered his best wishes.
Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo, Dean of the Chapel at IWU offered an opening prayer for the student body;


Dear Father, I thank you for these, whom we love, who will be graduating in a few days. I pray that you will continue to give them direction, purpose, and perseverance as they enter the next phase of life.
Today is like numerous other days. The sun came up over the horizon and in a few hours, will hide itself as the moon makes its appearance. People were born. There were individuals who laughed, cried, worked, studied and even passed on. Today, as “chronos” time, is as it has been ever since You gave it its beginning and it will be as it is until it comes to an end by Your command.
But today is also full of freshness and newness; like no other day in history. Today is “kairos”; time which is full of wonderful opportunities. Today is, for these students who will be graduating, a passage from one adventure to another. Kairos is a wonderful gift which you offer to each one of us. Therefore, help each of us to comprehend the wonder of this gift and then seek to take hold of it.
Today we pray for all these who have completed their studies. Because of this, they now have a new “kairos” that awaits them. Firstly, I offer thanks to You, O Lord for helping them to be successful as they journeyed here at IWU. What a great accomplishment for them to reach this milestone of graduation.
I want to also take a few moments praying for their tomorrow. Praying for these soon to be graduates as they will be entering another door to another context and perhaps, even another culture. As you have led them in past days, please Lord, continue to guide them into the future. Give them clearness of mind to move forward into the plans and purposes that You have for them. I pray that they will have the boldness to stand up for what is right wherever they are “planted”. Give them wisdom to live their lives wisely, in ways that will glorify You.
I pray the words of scripture over them: “Bless them indeed. Expand their territory. Let Your hand be with them.
Grant them success for their efforts at every turn and guide their feet to follow Your ways. May they be eager to do good and not evil all the days of their lives. May they always sense Your smile of pleasure upon them. In Jesus’ Name I pray this prayer, amen.

Dr. Wright offered words of encouragement by reminding the students to look for the “beacons” in their lives that would help to provide direction and hope in their future. He encouraged them that the relationships at IWU are some of those beacons. He encouraged them to stay connected.

Millie Troyer shared a prayer with the students at the end of the event.

Graduation will be held at the Chapel-Auditorium on Saturday, April 26th.