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Undergraduate Admissions E-Newsletter - Fall 2004

Welcome to the Aquinas College E-Newsletter – your source for the latest news and events happening at AQ! Read on to find out what amazing things AQ faculty, staff, students and alumni are up to as well as what exciting projects are going on at Aquinas.
May Trip to Japan a Success   One Fine Day….Arts, That Is!
Chiwaya `02 Named to Malawi Cabinet AQ Alumnus/Political Pollster Busy for Fall
AQ Partners with Metro Health  
May Trip to Japan a Success
By Laura Bennett-Kimble `95, Contributing Writer
(Above) Dr. Matt Tueth makes a sustainable business presentation to a group of Japanese educators with Dr. Yamazaki providing the translation.

In an effort to strengthen business and education ties with Japan, a group of West Michigan residents including Grand Rapids City Mayor George Heartwell, Aquinas President Harry Knopke, and Aquinas faculty members, Dr. Matthew Tueth and Dr. Masato Yamazaki, met with representatives from numerous organizations during a May visit.

The trip was organized by Yamazaki, who is a co-founder of the U.S.-Japan Economic, Business, and Cultural Forum, a group created to help Japan improve its economy. Aquinas College has hosted two Forums in the past, said Yamazaki.

“This trip followed up several visits of Japanese officials to West Michigan and reinforced our respective commitments to developing mutually beneficial business initiatives,” said Knopke.

A result of these relationships may be College representation at the March 2005 World Exposition in Aichi , Japan , where Nature’s Wisdom will be the official theme. Aquinas and its partnership with Metro Health, along with the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, are being considered for inclusion in the U.S. Pavilion.

While in Japan , Tueth presented lectures on the Aquinas Sustainable Business program, a new program that incorporates economic growth and environmental responsibility. “I also gave an overview of what West Michigan is doing – it really is a leader in the field of sustainable business.” He was well received, and said many people want to start the same program there.

Some of those people will be coming to West Michigan . “We are expecting our first Japanese undergraduate enrollment this fall,” said Knopke, “and are aiming at next summer to offer a concentrated certificate program for managers, which would include Japanese business people.”

This could be very good for the crowded nation. With 130 million people on the four main islands of Japan , Tueth said, “they’ve got environmental problems.”

“ Japan was, historically, very sensitive to nature,” Yamazaki stated, but things changed during and after World War Two. “Then, economic growth became the focus. Now they have to turn the clock back.” With sustainable business, he said, it isn’t an either/or situation regarding quality and cost – it’s a beautiful solution.


Chiwaya `02 Named to Malawi Cabinet Post

By Sandy Rademaker, Contributing Writer
Clement Chiwaya '02 is pictured here with his wife Faith and their daughter Sandra

Clement Chiwaya `02 is a full-fledged Cabinet Minister in his home country of Malawi. He sent word that he had won a seat in Parliament and then, within days of being sworn into office on June 7, he was appointed to serve on the President’s Cabinet as Minister of Social Services and Disability Affairs.

Chiwaya, who graduated in December 2002 with a double major in Community Leadership and Political Science, says it is the first time a disabled person has been elected to Parliament.

“This is the first time that a disabled person has ever been elected to Parliament. I want to thank you all for your financial and spiritual help you have given me,” he wrote in a June e-mail. He continued, “When I was growing up and crawling on my fours to go to school, I never contemplated that one day I could be privileged to help in the running of this country.” As a Cabinet Minister, Clement is required to live in Malawi ’s capital of Lilongwe , some five hours from his home.

Clement has been working hard since leaving Aquinas. He returned to his homeland and began several projects that have included the building of two schools in villages where there have never been school buildings. Clement worked to secure funding through the Warm-hearts Foundation for one school and from the Elk Rapids ( Mich ) Rotary Club for the second school. Clement and his wife, Faith, have a daughter who is less than a year old.

(Sandy Rademaker, coordinator of graduate education programs in the School of Education, was Clement’s surrogate mother while in the United States )

AQ Partners with Metro Health to Create Energy-Education Lab
By Laura Bennett-Kimble `95, Contributing Writer
Architectural rendering of proposed Center for Sustainable Energy and Education
U.S. Congressman Vernon Ehlers addresses a press conference held to announce the Center for Sustainable Energy and Education

In a continuation of the Aquinas College mission to reach out to the community and form partnerships with complementary organizations, Aquinas College has joined with Metro Health to create a unique educational opportunity through its Sustainable Business program.

In an effort that will expand and revolutionize its health care services, Metro Health is moving from Grand Rapids to a 170-acre Health Village in suburban Wyoming . When completed by 2006, the Village will include a 208-bed hospital, retail village, commercial businesses, health services and the Center for Sustainable Energy and Education (CSEE), a sustainable education center that also functions as the main utility plant of the hospital. It is here that Aquinas students will expand and apply their knowledge of sustainable business, the concept of promoting economic growth while seriously addressing environmental and social responsibility.

The partnership was formalized at an August 25 press conference, which also included the announcement of a $2.75 million federal contract award from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory toward the project’s $30 million estimated cost. Funds for the project will come through a mix of conventional financing and national grants.

Students in the program include those seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainable Business, the first undergraduate program of its kind in the nation, as well as those seeking minor degree or a certificate in sustainable business. The program began officially in August 2003 and enrollment is double what Dr. Matthew Tueth, director of the Sustainable Business Program, had expected. Twenty-seven students are currently enrolled in the program, including four Metro Health management employees.

The CSEE, which planners expect to achieve the coveted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum designation of the U.S. Green Building Council, “will produce renewable energy for the hospital and potentially the health care village,” said Tueth. In its 45,000-square-foot energy and educational center, students will participate in learning and research projects in areas such as community education, waste elimination, material recycling and renewable power generation to further their education and assist in developing the facility’s potential.

“The Metro Health Village project is unique in the world,” Tueth noted. “Our association with this truly unique sustainable business development will benefit Aquinas and the sustainable business program as well as Metro Health.” And, in the spirit of sustainable business, it is also expected to benefit the local environment, the economy and the community as a whole.

One Fine Day….Arts, That Is!!
By Damon Bouwkamp `00, Admissions Representative
Associate Professor of Art Kurt Kaiser works with several student prospects. Dr. Paul Brewer orchestrates a group of musicians

Experiencing the arts has become one of the most important parts of an education for a number of high school students. Holding to that theme, the Admissions Office held the first annual Fine Arts Day (FAD) on March 19 with 180 prospects, high school freshmen through seniors, attended what many described “as the most unique visit at Aquinas College .”

“This is a really interesting program and really put together well,” said one student. “I loved the teachers and I met some awesome people.”

High school students from around the Midwest began the day with department overviews from professors and toured the Aquinas’ campus. After lunch, the students experienced everything from theatre workshops, jazz improvisation sessions, printmaking exercises, and poetry writing seminars. Following the breakout sessions, the students shared their work with everyone in the Performing Arts Center.

“I am impressed with everything I saw today and I would recommend this day to anyone who is interested in fine arts,” commented another student.

Plans are underway for all of the Admission Department’s special events days. Below is the tentative list of events scheduled for the 2004-2005 school year:

Friday, November 12, 2004 - Campus Day
Friday, November 19, 2004 - Campus Day
Saturday, January 22, 2005 - Athletic Campus Day
Friday, February 4, 2005 - Nursing Campus Day
Friday, March 18, 2005 - Fine Arts Day
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - Leadership Day
Spring 2005 - Science Day
Friday, April 22, 2005 - Campus Day

AQ Alumnus/Political Pollster Busy as Fall Elections Near
By Tonya Schafer `02, Contributing Writer
(Left) Ed Sarpolus '76

Ed Sarpolus ‘76 got his start as a pollster early. During his days at Aquinas, the undergrad paid fellow students to make telephone calls for public opinion studies. Three decades later, Sarpolus is still at it – in a much broader arena.

As vice president of EPIC-MRA, the state’s most-quoted public polling firm, Sarpolus measures citizen sentiment about issues of the day, then passes data along to organizations that use it to market products, promote causes, and report on topics from politics to health care.

USA Today and Fox News Channel have quoted the former Saint’s findings and, during a last spring interview, Sarpolus mentioned that he had been on the front page of that day’s Detroit News. Yet while years of self-employed professional experience led to his high-profile position, Sarpolus said credit also goes to mentors who encouraged him while he was a student at Aquinas.

In the early 1970s, Sarpolus worked as a research assistant with psychology professor Lee Jacokes and also helped build databases for a state legislative campaign. During his sophomore year, Sarpolus set up the dorm room phone banks that collected information for his studies. Finding workers for the project wasn’t hard. Then, as now, “everybody needed money,” Sarpolus said.

EPIC-MRA started as Michigan Researchers Associates in 1985, and got its current name when founders made it a full-time business in 1993. Now Sarpolus works with the company’s president, Bernie Porn, to track trends across the state and the nation, focusing on educational, political, industrial and consumer topics. The presidential campaign has been a key area of study, and school millage and bond issues are major parts of their business, as well. EPIC-MRA also conducts focus groups, offers consulting for elections and campaigns, and develops databases used by private companies, government agencies and news media nationwide.

After graduating from Aquinas, Sarpolus left for Cincinnati but eventually moved to Lansing , where EPIC-MRA is based. He lives there with his wife, Kathleen (Sruba), a fellow Aquinas grad; the couple has two children: Andrea, 20, and Jacqueline, 14. His work might seem dry to some, but Sarpolus said it has an important outcome, and he is glad to have devoted his career to it. “We create dialogue, and we help clients do better work, but we also help people understand the world we live in. Aquinas taught me everything I needed to know to do that,” Sarpolus said.