Spring is coming to central Indiana. It’s a beautiful time of year when our minds normally turn to commencement ceremonies, job searches or promotions, and summer vacations.
This past Saturday, our normal Spring Commencement day, marked an historic milestone for all of us at IWU. It was the end of the first time in our history when IWU finished the traditional academic year teaching all classes remotely. It was a bittersweet day.
The day represented so much of what has been taken from us by this terrible pandemic.
But it also represented an astounding achievement by IWU faculty, students and staff. All through the day I enjoyed seeing the celebrations graduates posted on Facebook and other media.
Despite everything this pandemic threw at you, by God’s grace, it has not defeated you!
Now our thoughts turn to the future. I want you to know that our teams are hard at work right now planning for summer and fall activities all across the IWU community.
- We are planning to celebrate “Spring” commencement on August 22 with National & Global, Wesley Seminary, and Marion
- IWU-Marion faculty and staff are preparing to welcome new and returning students to campus this
- We are working to make the Marion campus and our regional education centers available for conferences and camps in the second half of the
We have two primary goals. The first is to continue to keep students, employees, and community workers safe. The second is to allow students to continue their education uninterrupted.
We are even now identifying the specific ways our activities will need to change in order to safeguard the health of our community as we move forward. Our plans are based on the best practices identified by public health, medical, governmental, and other authoritative sources. Those plans will grow, and may change, as new developments arise. We will keep you informed as we move forward.
Some may ask why we are planning aggressively for the future.
There are times in our lives when great disruptions come. They seldom come with the scope and impact of this pandemic. We grieve for the suffering and loss it has brought. We cannot move forward without acknowledging and lamenting our losses. But we do move forward.
While this pandemic is a formidable foe that has done historic damage to our families and our economy, at IWU we are absolutely convinced that good will prevail. In fact, we believe that our country will rise to this challenge just like we have to every other challenge in our history.
IWU people have been and will continue to be at the center of the fight. Thousands of our alumni and students are among the first-line responders to the pandemic. They are putting their lives at risk every day to care for the ill, and to keep necessary services in place.
Our faculty and staff are, even now, creating some of the most innovative programs we’ve ever offered to prepare new generations of world changers, to get our nation back to work, bolster our social services, and recreate the fabric of our communities.
Please join us as we pray for wisdom and courage both to fight the current pandemic, and to plan well for the future. We will use every available resource to make IWU a place of safety and a place of learning, fostering a faith-filled outlook on the future, pursuing ingenuity and persistence until we see the better days that are coming.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
February 29th through March 8th 2020 is sure to be a week filled with music as the Indiana Wesleyan University Chorale and the Wind Ensemble go on their spring break tours!
The University Chorale is an 80-voice ensemble composed of students from all fields of study. Previously, the Chorale has toured across Europe- having performed in Scotland, France, England, and many other locations. This spring break, they will be touring across Florida.
Meanwhile, the IWU Wind Ensemble will be going on their biyearly-spring break tour. The Wind Ensemble utilizes a wide variety of musical styles in their performances, which have included concerts in 17 different states across the U.S. The Ensemble has recorded several albums, and has been featured at the Indiana Music Educators Convention in Indianapolis.
Come enjoy a concert if you are in the area! Tour itineraries for both groups are linked below:
Some people think that a life lived on mission for Christ must involve travelling to distant countries to serve as a missionary. However, for Mandy Ogunnowo, a 2008 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, a life of missional living simply means being flexible and open to God’s calling to serve the people around her each and every day to make a difference in her community.
After becoming a Christian at age sixteen, Ogunnowo found herself living a rather lukewarm Christian life; she merely went through the motions of her faith without seeing it make a substantial difference in who she was. She tended to keep her life compartmentalized, with her work life, social life, and spiritual life rarely overlapping. The Lord opened the eyes of her heart in the fall of 2015 after witnessing the final months of a close friend’s father’s life. Deeply saddened by Jerry’s death, Ogunnowo returned to her hometown of Lawrence, Kansas for the memorial service, and there she saw something extraordinary. While the family was deeply grieving for their loved one, Ogunnowo witnessed the strength and courage that the Gospel gave them as they celebrated Jerry’s life with joy and hope. Hearing Jerry’s family boldly share their hope in Jesus, even in their time of mourning, deeply touched Ogunnowo’s heart, and the Lord used the experience to reignite a passion for following Him with her whole heart, soul, mind and strength.
Since then, Ogunnowo has become a powerful force of change in her community. Through her job as an IT consultant for the Secretary of State in Indianapolis, Indiana, she is able to interact with many people in both the public and private sector. She freely shares her faith with those around her and is always prepared to give a reason for the hope within her. Additionally, Ogunnowo is a member of Nehemiah Bible Church and serves as the Program Manager in the Church’s outreach ministry called Kids Church – a VBS style, Saturday service committed to proclaiming the Gospel to the community’s marginalized neighborhood youth and their families. This includes hundreds of children who attend the service throughout the year. She no longer views her faith and the other aspects of her life as being separate; rather, she tries to achieve excellence in her career as part of her ministry of glorifying God.
As Ogunnowo’s heart continues to be drawn closer to the Lord every day, she plans to move into a community house and disciple young women who are transitioning into adulthood. Ogunnowo continues to follow God’s Spirit wherever He leads her as she continues to be a shining light in her workplace and in her community.
Indiana Wesleyan University is graced with thousands of alumni who are changing the world for the glory of Jesus Christ. The following array of awards expands the Alumni Association’s recognition of achievement in a way that intentionally honors alumni from each of the three University’s academic units. Doing so encourages broader alumni engagement and showcases the breadth of impact Indiana Wesleyan University alumni are having on the world.
Distinguished “World Changer” Alumni Award
This is the pinnacle alumni award granted to an alumnus or alumna who has lived a life in submission and service to Christ and has exhibited a contagious passion for world change that permeates every part of their life as they shine light in this lost and broken world. They demonstrate an exceptional level of excellence in serving his or her profession, community, church, or alma mater in the spirit of Jesus Christ. The life of this individual serves as an inspiration for future generations.
The recipient would speak or be interviewed at the Homecoming Banquet and, possibly, Homecoming Chapel. He or she will also be recognized at halftime of the Homecoming football game, on the Alumni World Changer Wall in the rotunda of Jackson Library, at www.indwes.edu, and in Triangle Magazine.
Distinguished Alumni Award – Marion Campus
The nominated individual for this award is an alumnus or alumna from the Indiana Wesleyan University’s home campus in Marion, IN. He or she exhibits excellence in serving their profession, community, church, or alma mater in the spirit of Jesus Christ. This individual has continued to live out the mission of the university in his or her life in the years following graduation from the university. He or she will be recognized at the Homecoming Banquet, halftime of the Homecoming football game, at www.indwes.edu, and in Triangle Magazine.
Distinguished Young Alumni Award – Marion Campus
This award will be granted to an alumnus or alumna who graduated within the last 10 years from the university’s home campus located in Marion, Indiana and also meet all other criteria set above for the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Distinguished Wesley Seminary Alumni Award
This award will be granted to an alumnus or alumna of the Wesley Seminary who has lived out the call God has placed on their lives in serving his or her profession, community, church, or alma mater in the spirit of Jesus Christ. This individual exhibits excellence in his or her pursuit of faith in action for the sake of seeing the lost get found. He or she will be recognized at the Homecoming Banquet, halftime of the Homecoming football game, at www.indwes.edu, and in Triangle Magazine.
To ensure we are nominating and selecting alumni from the appropriate areas of study for each award, we have included the various programs within The Wesley Seminary:
– Master of Divinity
– Master of Arts
– Doctor of Ministry
– Master of Practical Theology
Distinguished Alumni Award – National & Global
This award will be granted to an alumnus or alumna of the Online, Adult and/or Graduate College who has dedicated themselves to shine brighter in the workplace, community and home by the spirit of Jesus Christ. He or she will be recognized at the Homecoming Banquet, at www.indwes.edu, and in Triangle Magazine.
Lorelei VerLee, a 1972 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University for Art Education has had a very adventurous life. Her parents were students at IWU and served as missionaries in Japan, where VerLee spent her entire childhood. Her mother also earned an art degree and used it often in her work abroad. Largely because she did not want to simply follow her parents’ path, she ended up attending Houghton College for her freshman year. However, her boyfriend, who later became her husband, was an IWU student and ended up convincing her to transfer.
VerLee became very close to Ardelia Williams who was head of the art department. Williams became her mentor and friend and was integral in helping VerLee develop her passions to use her love of art to help people escape poverty and marginalization globally. VerLee also had the unique honor of being the next art graduate after her own mother—between VerLee’s mom and herself, there were no other students at IWU to graduate with an art degree, so they were “back to back” art graduates. The art department was built up largely by Williams and VerLee was happy to be there as it began to grow and flourish.
Because VerLee grew up in Japan, she already had a global mindset coming into college. She knew she wanted to be involved in the work God was doing globally, but she did not have the passion to do it through traditional missionary work. Her parent’s model of respectful ministry was very effective. Rather than imposing a western style faith experience, they worked to support the Japanese perspective and cultural context. She approached her hopes, then, with an idea of serving others however she could. This led her to what she is currently doing.
VerLee founded Creative Women of the World (CWOW) which sends people into communities and helps women see what skills they already have that could be profitable. This helps empower women to realize that they have a choice and that they are capable of supporting their families and communities simply by using the talents they already possess. VerLee supplements these passions and skills with business training so that they can truly succeed. As the old adage goes, “Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they will eat for a lifetime.” But CWOW says, “Teach a woman how the fishing industry works, and she’ll change the world!”
Before VerLee began her time working globally she was a public-school teacher in the states for ten years. This experience helped equip her for CWOW, since it helped her to develop her skills as an educator. She also worked on a number of small businesses while she was in education. One business in particular, a handmade greeting card company she helped start in 1989, was particularly successful. In the midst of her educational and business ventures, however, VerLee sensed a calling to return to her original dream: helping others through art.
After her children grew up and moved out of the house, she began going on missions trips, and she ended up was on an email list that changed her entire life. VerLee got an email asking if there was anyone who was particularly artistic who would be willing to go to Haiti to work with women who lived in a remote village on the side of a mountain who wanted to start a greeting card company. VerLee knew right away this was God telling her to go—one month later she was living among these women; she had finally found her calling at 56 years old. After three years working with these women, (who have completely transformed their community), VerLee got asked to go help in other parts of the world with similar initiatives.
It was from that passion and the success she saw in Haiti that gave way to CWOW, which was officially started in 2011. There is also a boutique in Ft. Wayne of the same name, where people can purchase products from the women in communities all over the world. CWOW supports over 50 countries and encourages what they call “kinder consumption” or the selling of products that help care for the people that produce them. VerLee recently retired as the Executive Director of CWOW, though she still helps with international business training. She is currently focused on writing a book about the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual effects Japanese culture (particularly kanji, or Japanese symbols that represent words and concepts) had on her as she has lived her adult life in America.
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By: Dezaray Barr
Jon-Marc Ream has obtained two bachelor’s degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) but in two different years.
He received his first bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in 2014 and his second in 2016 in Nursing.
“I first was introduced to Indiana Wesleyan by my twin brother, Grant, who also attended IWU,” Ream said. “Shortly after, I was recruited for the baseball team, but unfortunately was not able to keep playing due to injuries in high school. I stayed at IWU and still believe God brought me there.”
As a student, Ream loved being on campus, and he loved developing friendships with fellow Wildcats.
“I still hold many friendships to this day, and was able to meet an amazing woman whom I will share the rest of my life with,” he said.
Ream met his wife, Chloe, while attending IWU. Fun fact: Chloe is also a twin, and her twin also attended IWU!
Before attending IWU, Ream didn’t have an intimate relationship with God.
Through friends, professors, and other relationships, he was encouraged to learn more about the Lord.
“Most importantly, I was able to see a God who was not judgmental, but loving and positive,” Ream said. “I would not be who I am without the relationships I gained at IWU. I’m very grateful.”
He is now an operating room nurse in Elkhart, Indiana.
Ream believes that IWU helped lay a foundation for him to be a light in a dark world.
“Especially in healthcare, I run into patients and families that are in a very sad place,” Ream said. “I have been given opportunities to show some goodness in the dark places.”
As nurse, Ream is able to pray for patients when needed, share hope for families when they have none, and he ultimately can be kind to some who feel as if they have lost everything.
It’s true that Ream earned two degrees at IWU, but he left with so much more. He left with a wife, an education, and, most importantly, a newfound, intimate relationship with the creator of the universe.
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the IWU Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.
Every year Indiana Wesleyan University’s Chorale and Wind Ensemble each take an extended tour during the University’s Spring Semester. While both ministry groups spend several weekends every semester touring different parts of the Midwest, the Spring Break tour is a time when they travel across the nation. With past tours locations being Florida, California and New York, there is always great focus on the second semester to prepare for this week-long tour. “The students are the highlight of these groups. I am always amazed by the humility in Christ they exhibit while also demonstrating their exceptional talents,” says Krista Brown, who will be traveling with the group to Florida, this year.
The Chorale is spending their tour on the east coast going all the way down to Florida. They leave early Saturday morning, March 2nd, to arrive in time for their first concert at Brooksville Wesleyan Church, Brooksville Florida at 7:00 p.m. Traveling to their next show on Sunday, March 3rd, they spend the day at Harborside Christian Church, Safety Habor, FL, performing for multiple services including the 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
They continue the trip on Tuesday, March 5th performing at the Wycliffe Discovery Center at 11:30 a.m. and Avon Park Holiness Camp at 7:00 p.m. that evening. On Wednesday, March 6th, they will sing at The Village Church – Shell Point, Fort Myers, FL, at 7:00 p.m. On Thursday and Friday, the Chorale will be holding clinics and exhibits at Evangelical Christian School in Fort Myers, FL and Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale. Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, FL is hosting the Chorale for a concert on Saturday, March 9th at 2:00 p.m. The final concert of the tour is on Sunday, March 10th and will be held at New Life Presbyterian Church, Fruitland Park, FL.
The Wind Ensemble is headed west for their tour. They kick off their first concert in Mitchell, SD at First Lutheran Church for both of their services on Sunday, March 3rd at 8:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. The Wind Ensemble will be performing and hosting clinics at Mitchell Christian School, Mitchell, SD on Monday, March 4th and Tuesday, March 5th at Rapid City Christian School, Rapid City, SD. On Wednesday, March 6th, the Wind Ensemble will perform in an evening concert at New Hope Wesleyan Church, Williston, ND at 6:30 p.m. Following their previous performing, the Wind Ensemble will stay in Williston, ND on Thursday, March 7th, to perform at Trinity Christian School.
Traveling further west, the Wind Ensemble will host a workshop at Buffalo High School in Buffalo, WY on Friday, March 8th. On Friday evening, the Wind Ensemble will play at Summit Church, Buffalo, WY at 6:00 p.m.
The final concert of the tour is at First Wesleyan Church, Rapid City, SD at 10:00 a.m.
If you are in the area and would like to come to support these ministry teams, they would love to worship with you during their Spring Break!
To view tour schedules visit: