By: Kendra Housel
George Middleton is a 1987 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University’s masters program, where he earned his M.S. in management. He had been working for American Electric Power in Fort Wayne, Indiana as a Human Resource professional, when he heard about their education assistance program. Through that, Middleton decided to pursue his graduate work at IWU. Through this adult learning program, he got to pursue higher education in an experience that Middleton said “put together like-minded and motivated people of exceptional talent and drive.”
Middleton felt that IWU was the perfect fit for him in pursuing his education, not only for the convenience, but because there was a priority in emphasizing spiritual growth, along with academic growth. As a Music Minister, he appreciated the way education was paired with a spirit of love, compassion and teamwork. Middleton currently works in the mental health field, dividing his time between his roles as an author, therapist and mentor. He consistently fuses together his passions for music and psychology to create innovative therapy programs. His time at IWU, he feels, “set the tone for not being afraid to think above the ‘status quo,’ to be more focused more on [relevance] and effectiveness, and less on traditional ways for the sake of tradition only.” Also important to him is the way IWU prepared him to carry on a lifestyle of learning; a flexible mind is one of the most valuable things he developed during his graduate work.
His spiritual life is a large part of his career in the attitude he approaches everything with. He maintains an attitude of humility and empathy as he engages with his clients. Through the techniques he uses, Middleton directs the clients towards an ability to make their own effective and healthy life choices, which is the goal of therapy in and of itself. Middleton must put himself aside, and think always of the good of the client, which is a direct result of his spiritual walk. The most spiritually engaging portion of his work is the time he spends in racial healing. He presents many workshops which address racial beliefs from the lens of mental health. Through these talks, he raises awareness about the harmful behaviors and consequences one may inflict upon themselves and their community based upon their underlying belief systems about race.
Before pursuing his graduate work, Middleton spent lots of time in some very unique professions, including time as an over-the-road truck driver, a high-line transmission tower mechanic and a professional firefighter. His career as a firefighter ended when he was seriously injured, which actually resulted in him and his brother being featured in an issue of Life Magazine. He is also a skilled and versatile musician. Middleton has produced three jazz music projects, in smooth jazz, gospel jazz and holiday jazz. You can view his music at www.cdbaby.com. Finally, Middleton’s advice to current IWU students is this: “Do what you love so that you will love what you do.”
Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.