University Chorale & Wind Ensemble: On Tour

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:

University Chorale Tour Itinerary

University Wind Ensemble Tour Itinerary

New Life Found in Mourning, Mandy Ogunnowo’s Story


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.

Alumni Award Descriptions and Criteria

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.

Award Categories

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, 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, 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, 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, and in Triangle Magazine.

Transforming Communities Through Art: VerLee’s Story

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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Two Degrees, One University: Jon-Marc Ream

By: Dezaray Barr


Jon-Marc Ream has obtained two bachelor’s degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) but in two different years.

Jon-Marc Ream and his twin brother, Grant


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!

Ream and his wife, Chloe

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


2019 Chorale and Wind Ensemble Spring Break Tours

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:

An IWU Legacy: 2018 School Counselor of the Year – Lauren Alspaugh

By: Kendra Housel

Lauren Alspaugh and her husband Shawn have already begun talking with their three children, all below the age of seven, about college; specifically, they both have begun attempting to recruit the children to attend their alma mater.

For Lauren, that means talking with them about, Indiana Wesleyan University, where she earned both her bachelor’s and her master’s degrees. There are high stakes in this early recruitment operation, since Shawn attended Taylor University. Not only that, but his entire family—brother, parents, grandparents—all went to Taylor as well. Lauren likes to remind them, however, that Shawn’s other grandmother married Arthur Hodson, the namesake of IWU’s Hodson hall—so while Taylor attendance may run in the family, they also have a child whose middle name— “Hodson”—is on one of IWU’s residential halls. She’s confident that she’ll get her children to take her side—but at the very least, she hopes they choose a Christian university and is thankful for the legacy of Christian education in her family.

After completing her bachelors in three years and graduating with her degree in psychology in 2007, she continued on and got her master’s in counseling in 2009. Though she is originally from southern Indiana, she had not heard of IWU until a couple girls from her youth group, whose faith and academic merit she admired, chose to attend. After their attendance peaked an interest, Alspaugh decided to come on a campus visit for herself. She says that she now often tells young people trying to discern where they’ll go to college that “a visit makes all the difference;” she stepped on IWU’s campus and know that it was exactly where she belonged.

Her time at IWU was spent encouraging others, which she said is one of her spiritual gifts; she was the official encourager for her resident’s hall. She spent much of her time studying, since she did have a twenty-one-credit-hour semester at one point in order to finish her undergraduate degree in three years, but she found time for lots of other things as well. She loved making lasting friendships, with most peers and professors. She was also involved in the psychology honors society and worked in the student support center (which is now called the Center for Student Success). Through both the class curriculum, which allowed her to grow in her personal study of the bible, and through chapel services, she said her faith grew significantly during her time at IWU. Specifically, her prayer life changed quite a lot, because she grew to value it more and understand the importance of it. One of her years, the chapel also gave every student a one-year-bible which she still uses every couple of years to help her keep up a daily habit of being in the Word. Alspaugh says that her time at IWU was so wonderful that she has a dream of returning to work at the school someday.

Currently, Alspaugh works for North Putman High School in Roachdale, Indiana as the Director of Guidance. She primarily serves the 11th and 12th grade students, in academic, social, and emotional situations. Much of her job, since she works most closely with upper classmen, centers on helping students with their post-secondary plans. She came into college predeclared in her major, which she encourages her students to do as well, especially those who are unsure about what they want in the future. She was awarded the school counselor of the year award in November of 2018 which Alspaugh said was both and honor and a surprise. She loves the supportive community of peers and administrators who always encourage her to try out new solutions and programs, to meet the needs of each unique situation her students face. Alspaugh said that graduation is always an incredibly emotional and impactful time, seeing her students finally reach a goal, especially those who “fought tooth and nail to get to that day.” Though NPHS is a public school, she spends much of her time praying silently for her students, who she loves deeply. She always takes comfort in the fact that, though some days can be incredibly difficult as a counselor, that she has a Wonderful Counselor in Jesus Christ who she can run to.

Alspaugh would like to pass on these words of wisdom to current students: “For perfectionistic students, get involved and have fun because the friendships with your professors and your fellow students are something that can last so long— don’t just hide away in your rooms—get involved and put yourself out there—savor every moment—have fun with your dorm and build relationships.”


Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior English and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

A Spotlight Day was all it Took: Chloe Tatom

By: Kendra Housel

Chloe Tatom

When junior nursing major Chloe Tatom began her college search, she was not looking at Indiana Wesleyan University. IWU was the school she saw simply as her father’s alma mater, where he had gotten his bachelors through the adult program some years prior.

Tatom was looking into a number of other schools when someone came to her high school and gave a short talk about the opportunities at IWU. It was then that she decided to come to the spotlight on nursing day, and that was all it took.

Tatom described the feeling of just “fitting” on the campus, that her visit solidified a confidence in her that this was the place she was supposed to be.

She enrolled in the nursing program, chose a minor in Spanish and moved onto the residential campus in the fall of 2016 to begin her time as an undergraduate student.

Tatom said that her time at the university has been wonderful and full of involvement. The first thing she mentioned appreciating about the school is how invested and caring her professors are. She has loved learning from and with them, and she expressed that the classes she has taken are invaluable in preparing her for her future.

Along with her academic pursuits, Tatom has committed much of her time here to serving the community, both on and off campus.

During her Freshman year, she got involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) and fell in love with the way the group becomes a family. Tatom found SGA to be a tangible way that she could express her love for the larger community of IWU. She had always been involved in student council during her high school years, so it was a natural next step for her in coming to college. The fact that she could participate in SGA and receive a paycheck was only a bonus for her.

The longer she has been involved the more she has truly felt that this has been where God wants her at this point in life, serving her fellow students.

Now, she is currently on the board as the SGA president. One of her biggest goals for the year is to communicate to the broader student body that SGA is there for their benefit, to help and listen to them.

Chloe Tatom and Wesley the Wildcat.

She has spearheaded this initiative by putting up a booth in the mall way on Thursdays, sending out an increased number of surveys to get everyone’s feedback on different events and ideas, and by creating question and concern papers so students can voice their unique opinions.

Along with her outreach to the students, Tatom meets frequently with the administration, including the board of trustees and the president of IWU, Dr. Wright. She serves in these situations as the voice of the student body.

Along with SGA, Tatom also serves off-campus in many avenues. She was a part of a tutoring program at Frances Slocum Elementary School, which is set up to help students whose first language is not English. She spends lots of time working on student’s literacy skills and reading to and with them. She also serves dinners on Wednesday nights at the local rescue mission.

Through the nursing program, she has been fortunate to be involved in many study groups and will get to serve alongside her church on a medical mission trip this March in Mexico.

As she has prayed and thought through possible options to pursue when she graduates, Tatom has been most drawn to pediatric nursing, since working with children is something that she is passionate about. She hopes to work out-of-state in a larger hospital to develop her skill set more intensely, ideally in a children’s hospital. She sees children’s hospitals as a preferable environment, because of the way they are especially geared towards the holistic wellbeing of the child, counting in valuable things like play, comfort, and excitement, along with medical treatment.

Later in life, Tatom hopes to pursue private practice, but not for some time. For now, she is soaking in her last year and a half at IWU, doing the best she can to serve her community, and remaining thankful for the ways God has opened doors for her to get a wonderful education in such a loving environment.



Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior English and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.