Chief Creative Director Kory Pence

By: Dezaray Barr

Kory Pence

Kory Pence graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics with emphases in painting and illustration. In 2009, he earned his MFA in Graphic Design from Marywood University. His design thesis was about Design for Change.

Pence was led to IWU because of his experiences with IWU as a high school student. He explained, “During high school, I had the opportunity to experience IWU’s student weekends and special events like Friday Night Live (FNL). The familiarity of campus life and my interest in computer graphics led me to explore the art division. The passion and dedication of the art faculty was unmistakable during a college visit. Ultimately, it was the excitement of learning from professors Rod Crossman, Ron Mazellan, Rob Curfman and Ardelia Williams that drew me to attend.”

Pence said that his time flew by while being immersed in countless hours of studio time. “The days before everyone had a laptop, you did all your work in the lab,” Pence said. “Making life-long friendships was inevitable. I took multiple campus jobs and student leadership roles (computer lab TA, conference services, front desk worker and Resident Assistant in Hodson Hall). One of the highlights was being a student graphic designer in the marketing department where I created playbills and event posters.”

Kory Pence and his family

Although he was grounded in his Christian faith when he arrived at IWU, he cultivated a spiritual maturity while a student. He said, “Some friends humorously made a game of collecting chapel skips like a badge of honor,  but I enjoyed the pause and reflection time that chapel allowed in the busyness of deadlines and lectures. Faculty also infused tangible spiritual teaching into everyday life. You can’t take a class with Ron Mazellan and not experience a new understanding of passion for craft and Christ. His and other’s examples continue to impact me to this day.”

Pence is now the Chief Creative Director for The Wesleyan Church in Fishers, Indiana. He leads a talented team of designers and storytellers. “My daily work ranges from print to digital design, to illustration and typography, to interior design and video production,” Pence said. “I love strategizing communication, collaborating with leaders and creative problem solving with artists to crafting compelling visual communication. Some of my favorites stories are at”

After graduation, Pence pursued a career in corporate design, but he quickly discovered that his employers lacked passion and integrity for their work. “Reflecting back on my time at IWU, mentors taught me that the world needed more people doing what they love. And the source of that love is God. Leaning into God’s plan for my life, I quit my corporate design gig to work for a Christian nonprofit. Nearly sixteen years later, God amazes me daily in the ways he allows me to serve in a role I am passionate about and making a difference. Through my work at The Wesleyan Church, he’s taken me around the world to beautiful places like Japan, Costa Rica and most recently to New Zealand, where I served as a nonprofit brand consultant and designer,” Pence shared.

Pence’s faith and career are interconnected in ways that give Pence deep fulfillment and purpose. “[My work] aligns with my beliefs,” Pence said. “I aim to live and design for change, so that others might be transformed for good. It’s a privilege and responsibility given to me by the Original Designer – the Creator and Sustainer of all good and everlasting change.”

Pence and his wife, Kristen, have a beautiful 8-month-old daughter. Pence has taught design as an adjunct faculty at IWU for several years. See some of his work at



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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

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Pastor of the Week: Kiersten Telzerow

By: Dezaray Barr

Kiersten Telzerow

Kiersten Telzerow graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2014 with a degree in Christian Ministries and a minor in Leadership. She is now the Small Group Director at Barracks Row AM Campus for the National Community Church in Washington, DC.

She said that IWU played a huge role in who she is today. “IWU was the place where I grew the most in my faith and a greater understanding of my calling to full-time ministry. I couldn’t even begin to list the professors who made an impact on my life, but just a few of them would be Rev. Vardaman, Dr. Bill Millard, Dr. Dan Poff and Dr. Keith Drury. Every professor I had helped form my character and cultivate my calling, and I am so grateful for that experience,” she said.

When she was just 14, the Lord painted a clear picture for what her life would be, and Telzerow couldn’t imagine doing anything else but ministry! She added, “I had a really healthy image of what it looks like to be lifelong in ministry full-time, as my dad is a pastor as well.”

In her ministry in D.C., Telzerow gets to serve on a great team of those working in small group ministry, where they provide pastoral care, raise up leaders, foster growth and discipleship in the congregation, as they see lives change right before their very eyes. “It is one of the best jobs, because I can focus on tasks and administration all the while growing deep and wide relationships,” she shared.

Although she loves her job and ministry, it’s not always easy or perfect. She explained, “God sometimes calls you to step outside the boat in a way that you may have never pictured. I went from suburban life, to rural life, to urban ministry, in what feels like overnight. It is only by God’s grace and favor that I am where I am and that he has continued to equip me to be right where I need to be. Sometimes the greatest hindrance in our life can be when we have this set picture of what our life is supposed to look like and where we will be when. We try to out plan God, and we can’t. Our job is just to be obedient – to wherever and whenever He calls – in whatever way it looks.”



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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

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Community Rallies to Help the Gurley’s Beat Cancer

By: Dezaray Barr

The Gurley family

Sarah Gurley attended Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) from the fall of 2003 to the spring of 2007, when she graduated with a major in Christian Worship and a minor in Communication (speech and theatre, at the time).

“I picked IWU because it was the only school that said I could double-major in Communication and Music (which I didn’t end up doing),” Gurley said. “My admissions counselor also told me straight up that IWU may not be for me, but that he will be praying that the Lord leads me to the right place. It was the only place that didn’t seem like it was trying to sell me a used car. I felt like they genuinely cared about what the Lord wanted for me. So I was sold… I grew leaps and bounds at IWU. My leadership skills were fine-tuned through my heavy involvement in residence life (RA for two years and ARD for one). My worship-leading ability was cultivated and encouraged as I had never felt before. I found life-long friends who encourage me spiritually and emotionally. My professors were and continue to impact my life. I am constantly bragging about the professors I had in the religion department and how much Biblical wisdom I gleaned from them. I know that not everyone has a great college experience, but my IWU experience was fantastic. From the time I stepped foot on the campus until I left, I grew as a person and as a follower of Jesus. I learned academically and felt prepared to face the world.”

Gurley grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She now lives in Houghton, New York but is moving to Indianapolis with her husband as he has recently recieved a job teaching at Kingsway Christian School.

Just two months after graduating, Gurley boarded a plane and moved to South Korea for two years. “I loved my experience in res life at IWU so much that I decided to make a career out of it,” she explained. “I moved to South Korea to work in the boarding program of a Christian international school. There, I met my husband. He was a teacher at the school, and we bonded over our shared Wesleyan college background (he is a graduate of Houghton College). Soon, we began dating, became engaged and were married in 2010.”

While in South Korea, Gurley worked in residence life and then moved to Minnesota where she served as a Resident Director and Director of Leadership Development at Crown College for four years. After having her second child, her husband accepted a position in Arizona. She explained, “We were only there for a year before my husband accepted a job at his alma mater, Houghton Academy. After moving, I accepted a job there as bible teacher and soon took on other classes, such as theater and journalism. I eventually became the Discipleship Coordinator at Houghton Academy.”

Now, the Gurley’s have three children and one on the way. Emeline is six, Analeigh is almost five, Oleisia is two and baby #4 will be here in early January. Gurley shared, “As a family full of girls, we have lots of dance parties (Dan is usually the DJ) and family movie nights. We love to go on walks and play outside as much as possible.”

A few months ago, Dan started getting headaches, seeing spots and having some sensitivity in his ear. Dan and Sarah were visiting some friends in Indianapolis and one of them, an IWU graduate who is now a nurse practitioner, told Dan to get it checked out. She said she couldn’t rule out a tumor. This advice proved to be extremely helpful. Dan started going down the list of specialists to see and none had an answer, until he went to an ophthalmologist. The doctor spotted the tumor in his eye and sent him to a specialist up in Rochester, NY for further study. After several tests, the doctor confirmed that it was a cancerous tumor on the back of his eye – a choroidal malignant melanoma. A very rare cancer that affects only six in one million people. Dan was sent to the Cleveland Clinic to see an oncology ophthalmologist. He will undergo a special radiation treatment where they insert a radioactive plate onto his eye that transmits radioactive seeds into the cancer while it is in place. He will spend three days in the hospital while the plate is on. Once the plate is removed, he will have to go back for several follow-up appointments and scans to make sure the cancer has been killed and that the cancer has not spread to other areas of his body. He will be a cancer patient for the foreseeable future and there will always be the risk that it will show up again in his lungs or liver.

Gurley said, “Our greatest need from the IWU community is prayer. The Lord is Jehovah Rapha- our healer. We fully believe that the Lord is not done writing Dan’s story yet. He has impacted the lives of so many people, I have to believe that the Lord is simply using this for a season to impact even more people. So we need prayer that the cancer is killed once and for all. We need prayer for me while I cope with intense morning sickness (I suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum during the entire duration of my pregnancies). My pregnancies make it difficult for me to function, let alone care for three kids and a husband while packing up an entire house for our move to Indiana. We also need prayer for the Lord to provide financially for us during this time. We are facing a large amount of medical bills, and because Dan is changing jobs, his deductible will go back down to zero right in the middle of his treatment, leaving us with potentially two out-of-pocket-maximum bills in one year. A Christian school teacher’s salary isn’t anything to write home about, but he has felt called to minister to kids in that setting. I don’t have a job in Indiana as of yet and my sickness prevents me from really having one until after the birth of our child. So financially, we will be facing a mountain but nothing that the Lord didn’t see coming!”

This is not the first hardship the Gurley family has faced. Dan had an emergency appendectomy the morning of their wedding. His incision site became infected on their honeymoon, and he was rushed back into surgery upon their return only to spend the first month of marriage immobile and bed-ridden. “But through it all, we have only grown closer together in our marriage and in our faith,” Gurley said. “I saw the hand of the Lord early in our marriage, so I started blogging about it. I keep a record of all the amazing things the Lord is teaching us at”

For those of you not following on the IWU 30 Days of Prayer via social media, we recently prayed for alumni. Jessica Voss (an incoming freshman this fall at IWU) reached out to us over Instagram saying, “Hello! My name is Jessica, I’m actually an incoming freshman this fall. I’ve been following the days of prayer and noticed that today is alumni. One of my favorite teachers is an alumni from IWU and needs a lot of prayer right now. Her name is Sarah Gurley. Her husband was recently diagnosed with cancer, and at the same time she is pregnant and moving her family from Houghton, NY to the Indianapolis area… She is a dearly loved friend of mine and a former teacher. Her husband was also my teacher.” Obviously the Gurley’s have affected many students nad people, and like Sarah said, their story is not over yet.

To help the Gurley’s beat cancer, visit



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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

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Marketing Assistant Miranda Hardesty

By: Dezaray Barr

Hardesty and her friends on graduation day

Miranda Hardesty graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2017 with a degree in strategic communication from the Division of Communication & Theatre.

Hardesty attended IWU on a soccer scholarship. She said, “My sister was also attending IWU on the women’s soccer team, which helped to persuade me to accept an offer from the head coach. We were able to play side-by-side for two seasons… I originally was set to accept an offer from another school – so much so that I wasn’t even considering IWU. The week that my final decision was due, I really prayed that God would give me a clear head and that his will would be done. The next day, I woke up and went to school. I was sitting in math and decided I wanted to make a pro/ con list for college instead of work on per-calculus problems. I went home that day and shocked my parents when I told them that I was going to commit to IWU… and I never looked back.”

During her time at IWU, Hardesty stayed busy with classes, athletics, working in the nursing department and being an active member of IWU’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). She also said, “I met several life-long friends during my time at IWU, and even met my (soon-to-be) husband during my time as a student. One of my favorite parts about being a student at IWU was that I truly felt like I belonged and wasn’t just another number. My advisors and professors knew me by name and, more than that, they had an understanding of who I was as a person.” She said that her favorite part about being a student at IWU was McConn. She added, “I still order their coffee by the bags!”

Hardesty was fortunate enough to grow up in a faith-based family, but her time at IWU still impacted her faith. “I think when one is raised in such a strongly rooted Christian family, it’s easy for faith to become habitual rather than spiritual. You go to church because you were raised to and it is expected of you. By going away to school, I was able to make my faith my own,” she said. “I had wonderful professors who pushed and questioned their students. One professor in particular loved to play devil’s advocate whether he agreed with you or not. By challenging my faith, I was able to grow my faith. Now I have a stronger relationship than ever with the Lord and am secure in where I am in my walk with Him.”

Since graduation, Hardesty is now working as a marketing assistant with Ethos Apartments in her home town and is preparing to be relocated out of state. She explained how her faith impacts her work: “Working in the communications field, I have the ability to be the voice of a company. I get to help shape what comes to mind when people think of our company as well as highlight select activities and messages put out by others in the community. Being a part of an apartment complex, I work with a large number of residents and their families. I make it my personal goal to go to bat for those that I work with. I try to be a voice for them inside of our company meetings. I attempt to shine a light on and provide solutions for the problems that they bring to my attention.”

Some fun facts about Hardesty include that she is a proud chapstick lover, and she always has at least three with her! She’s getting married in September, she aspires to be a foster dog mom and since graduating, she has started taking Italian lessons!

If Hardesty could give advice to current IWU students, she’d say, “Network! It’s not a cop-out answer – it can change everything. There are so many people out there who genuinely want to help connect you to industry professionals… Stay flexible. Take a deep breath and remember that the sun will always rise in the morning.”



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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

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White’s Residential & Family Services: Steve Hill

By: Dezaray Barr

Steve Hill graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2000 with a degree in Christian Ministries. “I felt God calling me to IWU to not only pursue a ministry serving others, but to grow spiritually and strengthen my relationship with Him,” Hill said.

Hill’s expereince at IWU was not a traditional one. He was a college ‘freshman’ at 33 years old. “I had spent 15 years in the work force prior to arriving at the university,” Hill said. “I enjoyed my time at IWU and everyone on campus. IWU was and is a friendly atmosphere, where I developed many friendships during my four years there… IWU was a big turning point in my life. The academic challenges and relationships that formed was a significant learning/spiritual experience for me. I truly thank my professors, friends and IWU staff for being a part of the process.”

Hill is now a Foster Care Social Worker at White’s Residential and Family Services in Wabash, Indiana. He said that his time at IWU has taught him to listen, be patient, ask questions, work hard and wait for God – all of which are incredibly important in his work at White’s. He also explained, “Working for a Christian agency has given me the opportunity to show/communicate God’s love to others. The focus at White’s is Christ centered, so implementing a work environment in this area has been beneficial for agency employees, as well as other individuals connected to it.”

If Hill could speak to IWU students he’d say, “Focus on relationships, not success, possessions or money. Love, give and care for others. Do that and everything else will fall into place.”




Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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


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Pastor of the Week: Josh Lavender

By: Dezaray Barr

Josh Lavender

Joshua Lavender graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2012 with a degree in Church Music. He went on to obtain his Master’s in Worship Studies from The Institute for Worship Studies. He’s currently studying for his doctorate from the same institution.

Lavender is now the Worship Pastor at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. He shared, “One unique thing about our church is our commitment to ‘equip the saints for works of service.’ Our gatherings are more like a mobilization center for God’s people than an evangelistic event for unbelievers. Our hope is that by focusing on equipping God’s people in our gatherings, we will learn to live evangelism every day of the week.”

Lavender said that IWU set him on the path that he’s walking today. He explained, “I will never forget the commitment to excellence ‘Prof’ (Dr. Guy) taught us in Chorale, the passion for prayer Umfundisi (Jim Lo) modeled for the student body or the burden for right worship Dr. Cherry instilled in her students. My experiences at IWU set the trajectory for me to study worship and serve in the local church. For that I am deeply grateful.”

Lavender said that he’s reminded of his call to ministry when at least once a week someone in his church’s staff office says, “I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life…”

He also said, “Whether it is when my church is remembering our unity at the Lord’s table, celebrating with new Christians being baptized into God’s family or serving the poor downtown, I am constantly being reminded that there is nothing else I want to do with my life than serve God and His people.”

Lavender and Trinity Church’s staff

Instead of explaining something he’s overcome in his life, Lavender explained that he is currently growing in a specific area. “I consistently feel the hurried current of consumerism,” he said. “Whether it is in my everyday life or our church’s worship gatherings, I am learning to resist the urge to rush. I am increasingly convinced that I can’t microwave things that slow cook… that efficiency can hinder development.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 is one of the passages God has stamped on his heart: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Some fun facts about Lavender include that he loves tea. He has a proclivity for growing plants, and, “I talk about holiness and formation way too much,” he said. “I love reading and talking about liturgy and theology among other nerdy things.”

Lavender would encourage every IWU student to be bold! He said, “Don’t wait for people to reach out to you; initiate relationship. Show love without evaluating whether other people will reciprocate. Decide that no one will feel unloved in your presence! Not so you can have a ton of friends, though that may be the result, but so you can be like Jesus.”



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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

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Police Officer Liza Mcdaniel

By: Dezaray Barr

Liza Mcdaniel while working for IWU Campus Police

Liza Mcdaniel graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2017 with a degree in Criminal Justice. Mcdaniel was led to attend IWU because of a call from the Lord. “As cliché as it sounds, Jesus was why I came to IWU,” she shared. “I came from Georgia, so not much else would have me pack up my life and move 700 miles. My RD at my previous college mentioned that she had family who went to IWU, and ever since our conversation, I just felt the Lord leading me to apply. Once I got accepted, I knew it was something I had to do.”

During her time at IWU, she worked for Campus Police and was a RA in Martin Hall. “It was the most challenging and fulfilling college experience I had. Much like any college experience, it also consisted of lots of late night food,” she said.

At IWU, Mcdaniel said she fell completely in love with the Lord all over again. “The first college I went to was a public university, where not everyone had faith. I loved that atmosphere because of the opportunity to evangelize, but IWU was a place where I got to grow myself instead of trying to help others grow,” she explained. “I learned how to make sure God is my priority.”

Now, Mcdaniel is a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She said that her experience with campus police has greatly affected her current position. “My job with Campus Police is one of the most amazing things that came out of IWU for me. Mario Rangel was more than just our boss. He was a mentor and genuinely cared about our well-being,” she said. “Working alongside incredible officers helped shape me and teach me to be a better officer and ultimately gave me the experience I needed to get into my current career.”

She continued, “I pray for everyone I come into contact with. That is the biggest thing. In law enforcement, we see a lot of awful things. We are forced to be with people in their worst moments, so my faith is something that I have to constantly fall back on to recognize the good in the world.”

Some fun facts about Mcdaniel includes that she is a triplet, but looks nothing like her sisters. Her favorite food is pancakes, and she loves to listen to classical music.

Liza Mcdaniel and her friend, Emily Miller. Mcdaniel shares, “Go to the Yummi Bunni in Fort Wayne at least once. Let it be your cheat day, because it is SO worth it.”

If Mcdaniel could encourage IWU students, this is what she’d say: “Go to chapel. As redundant as it may seem or as annoying it is to wake up early on days that you have no morning classes, just do it. It helps you prioritize. It helps you make sure that even on the days where you don’t feel like praising God, you can still make an effort to open your heart to him and see if he has anything to share with you. Looking back, the biggest thing I wish I had done was stay out that extra minute with friends. Go to that bonfire. Go to that event your resident hall is doing. Do all of these activities and fun things because soon, you won’t have those opportunities. It stinks when you graduate and have to leave all the people you’ve known for the past few years. So don’t take a single second for granted, because that one moment you take for granted will be the one moment you wish you had back.”











Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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

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IWU Professor & Alum Amy Smelser

By: Dezaray Barr

Professor Smelser and her family

Professor Amy Smelser graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) with a double major in English and writing in 1997. She said, “IWU offered me the best financial package, it was close to home and I trusted the school’s biblical foundation.”

During her time as an IWU student, Smelser worked three part-time jobs. She worked the stock room in the campus bookstore, she was the editor of the campus paper and she was a respiratory therapy tech at two nursing homes. On top of these jobs, she took 16-18 credit hours every semester, participated in University Singers, was a member of the New Student Orientation planning team and wrote for College Wesleyan Church’s drama ministry (which included FNL). She also said, “I think I might have also modeled clothes for one of the first telesales… I was busy and focused on my classes, but I found other ways to be involved on campus.”

When she arrived at the university, she thought she knew everything about the Bible, but her mentors (Dr. Mary Brown, Alan Miller, Dr. Marj Elder, Melissa Schermer, Rob Thompson and Dr. Todd Voss) at IWU taught her how to apply that knowledge and live her faith. “I made mistakes, for sure,” Smelser said “but they helped me see that mistakes don’t have to define me. God can use anyone who is willing to be used by him.”

Now, Smelser is a journalism professor at IWU in the Division of Communication & Theatre. She advises IWU’s two online campus publications: The Sojourn and She shared, “I try not to be jealous of the amazing newsroom The Sojourn and have compared to the closet newsroom we had back in my day.”

Prior to teaching at IWU, Smelser taught journalism at Taylor University for three years.

Her time at IWU and the education it provided her changed how she saw journalism. “Without the education I received, I would not enjoy writing. I would not enjoy editing. (I mean, who would?),” Smelser said. “Helping someone else find potential and watching them grow through challenges is fun. Heartbreaking at times, but truly a joy. I learned how to do that by being mentored, accepting instruction and choosing to learn. I owe much of that to my undergrad professors.”

Professor Smelser and Division Chair, Dr. Greg Fiebig, with their students on a field trip to the Indiana State House

She said with that smile that in her career she prays a lot. She explained, “My goal is to help students see that no matter their chosen career path, they are ministers of the gospel. God uses everything. Having a master’s in Christian leadership has helped me guide students to find their potential.”

Smelser now lives on a farm with her husband and five children, 28 chickens, one dog and one cat (they think – cats show up randomly). She has a master’s degree in Christian leadership and just finished a thesis to earn her master’s in journalism. Currently, she serves on the board of Kinwell Academy, a school located in Marion that serves high school students who just need someone to believe in them.

Students at IWU love Professor Smelser! Here are just a few of things her students shared about her: “I love her mentor-ship, guidance and real-world expectations.” “She’s helped make my dreams of being a true, Christian journalist come true.” “When I feel as if I can’t be a Christian and a journalist at the same time, Prof Smelser reminds me that with God, I can do just that… and I can do it well.”



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the 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

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Derric Gowan: Sports Management

By: Dezaray Barr

Derric and his wife, Bree, after her graduation from IWU in December

Derric Gowan graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) with a major in Sports Management and a minor in Media Communications. Although he walked in the spring of 2017, he graduated in August of 2017 after completing an internship over the summer.

Gowan was led to IWU because of a family pull. “Both of my grandparents worked there, my parents both went there, my mom currently works there and my brother graduated from there as well,” Gowan said. “I did choose to go to IWU myself. Another option I was looking at was Taylor. I ended up choosing IWU, because it felt like a more tight-knit community and a more Christ-centered atmosphere.”

During his time at IWU, Gowan believes that it was probably the greatest four years of his life. “I learned a lot about life and how to live on my own, but I also learned a lot about myself and grew so much in my walk with God. I gained lifelong friends, met my wife, have lasting relationships with professors and even launched part of my career there with the TV station,” he shared. “I enjoyed almost every single day at IWU. I honestly wish I could go back and live on campus again sometimes when the ‘adult life’ gets rough.”

Now, Gowan works for Finishline Inc. as a Manager-in-Training in their flagship store in Castleton Mall in Indianapolis. “It’s not something I had planned doing,” Gowan said, “but I enjoy what I do now and there are a lot of opportunities for growth and development for my business and management goals.”

As a sports management major at IWU, Gowan learned how to lead effectively. “My first job after college is in a management position, and I can certainly say that IWU helped prepare me for what I have experienced and will down the road,” Gowan explained.

On April 14, 2018, Gowan married Bree (Morgan), whom he met and dated at IWU. For their honeymoon, they visited Washington DC, had a VIP tour of the Capitol building and went inside the White House.

Gowan would encourage IWU students to always remember that God provides. “You may not know what your life will look like after college, where you will be, what you will be doing… but just remain faithful in God and always trust Him,” he shared.



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at

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Pastor of the Week: Joe Ruberg

By: Dezaray Barr

First Community Church of Matthews

Joe Ruberg is the pastor of the First Community Church of Matthews in Matthews, Indiana. Ruberg attended Greenville College and Taylor University. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1976 with a degree in Pastoral Ministry.

Although he originally attended Greenville College to pursue business administration, God made it clear to Ruberg that He was called into ministry. Ruberg said that after submitting to the Lord’s call, he never doubted that ministry was the right path for him to follow.

“I heeded the call and went to Moody to become a pastor,” Ruberg said. “Through some unique circumstances, I came to this area to take courses at Taylor University where God opened the door to pastor this church in Matthews. I have been here every since 1975.”

Joe Ruberg and his family

The First Community Church of Matthews is located in a town of about 580 people. The small church hosted less than a hundred people. “Being in such a small town, we strive to have a comfortable family feel, although we also draw from the surrounding towns, like Marion, Muncie, Hartford City, Gas City and Upland,” Ruberg explained.

Some fun facts about Ruberg include that First Community Church is his first and last church. This month, he’s been there for 43 years. He and his wife, Pamela, have three daughters. They are each married, and they’ve been blessed with 12 grandchildren.

Ruberg’s words of wisdom for current IWU students is simple. “Run everything through the grid of the Scriptures and trust it to be the truth, no matter who or what would attempt to distract you from it,” he said.



Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at

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