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.
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 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.