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Undergraduate Admissions E-Newsletter - Spring 2007

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.
Alaska Awes Students
NPR’s Diane Rehm Visits Aquinas
Rwandan Refugee Finds Home at Aquinas
Aquinas College Professor Receives Fulbright Award
Terry Bocian, Athletic Director at AQ, Named Region VIII Athletic Director of the Year
AQ Students Develop Prototype of Unique Emergency Evacuation System
AQ Women’s Basketball Escape to Warmer Climate
Fall Sports Review
2007 Performing Arts Center Schedule
Alaska Awes Students
By Brenda Hennink ’96, Director of Adult Student Recruitment / CE Student

Pure education knows no boundaries. Class lectures, books and theories provoke thoughts and power the imagination... essential learning tools. But, they are only part of the educational equation. Experiential learning, practical life encounters, is needed to round out and complete the equation. Imagine not having to imagine! Actually tasting the tartness of wild blueberries; seeing the wind swirling around snowcapped peaks that books can only describe; being moved to tears by the lyrical expressiveness of a howling pack of wolves; having one’s boots suctioned to thick taiga sludge - a 4-D experience employs all of one’s senses and brings book knowledge and theory to life.


Aquinas College offers both its traditional age and adult students opportunities for experiential learning with study abroad programs, service learning programs and field courses like “Resource Management in the National Parks.” As members of last July’s field course, an eclectic group of professors and students meandered 1,600 miles in a 15-passenger van. Destination: south central Alaska. This was not a typical group of undergraduate students in their late teens to early 20s. The students varied in age from 21 to 50+ years, demonstrating that adventure in education is not necessarily for the young but for the young at heart. A few were full-time undergrads. Some were fulltime graduate students. A number were employed full-time: One, a middle school teacher; another, a state park assistant superintendent; and there was even a new product development engineer. Three were Aquinas College Continuing Education (CE) students.

Their quest was to examine firsthand three of Alaska’s majestic and incomparable national parks:
  • Wrangell-St. Elias: The largest national park in the country (greater than six Yellowstones combined) with over 100 major glaciers and nine of the highest 16 peaks in the country;
  • Denali: The keeper of the “high one;” Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain on the North American continent at 20,320 feet. With a territory larger than the state of Massachusetts, Denali is home to more than 167 species of mammals and birds; and last, but certainly not least;
  • Kenai Fjords: Which contain pristine shorelines speckled with rookeries and coated with tidewater glaciers calving into frigid waters, complete with an audience of sea life including whales, orcas and sea otters. The ice there is several thousand feet thick.

Over a period of two weeks, students combined theory and practical experience to study and evaluate the contemporary resource management issues faced by the National Park Service. Reading Michael Frome’s book, Regreening the National Parks, was a course requirement. Daily lectures (rain or shine) by Dr. Matt Tueth, AQ professor and former state park superintendent, and Dr. Wikle, a geographer, highlighted numerous topics such as national park history, public use versus preservation and park planning. Occasional hikes on glacial ice, nervous bushwhacking treks through thick alpine tundra and backcountry overnights with indescribable views taught lessons in utter awe, public safety and visitor impacts. The lesson in how to avoid bear encounters proved most vital.


To enquire about future Resource Management in the National Parks classes, contact Dr. Tueth at tuethmat@aquinas.edu


NPR’s Diane Rehm Visits Aquinas

By Laura Bennett-Kimble ’95, Contributing Writer

Diane Rehm

She visited, she enchanted, she conquered. Diane Rehm, beloved by many a National Public Radio listener, was in Grand Rapids in October for three Aquinas events. Some 900 people saw the personable radio host over two days, and she was so popular that about 60 people were turned away from her packed afternoon talk in the Performing Arts Center on Oct. 24, 2006.


At that event, Rehm focused on her background and how she got into radio. Her next presentation held that evening at the Cascade Hills Country Club, was primarily a question-and-answer session moderated by the ebullient Grand Rapids 63rd District Court Judge Sara Smolenski. The third appearance, an informal talk at the Donnelly Center on Oct. 25, was scheduled to accommodate people who weren’t able to see her the day before.


In her opening at the evening event, she stated, “Here is my definition of a liberal: Someone whose mind, eyes, and ears are open to all possibilities and to all ideas. In that sense, I proudly declare myself a liberal.”


She said her NPR program, The Diane Rehm Show, is heard by 1.7 million listeners in the United States, not including the reach of satellite radio. “It is a way of establishing a national town forum,” she noted, because listeners are so inclined to contact the program with their two cents’ worth. “I get it from all sides and I love it.”


Rehm’s visit, part of the “Women Make a Difference” lecture series, kicked off the 20th anniversary year for the Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center. Funds raised at the evening dinner event will go toward a scholarship being developed by the Center.


“I was absolutely delighted to have her here,” said Susan Haworth-Hoeppner, director of the Center. “She is truly a model for women, particularly young women. [Her visit] was wildly successful. I think we reached more people than we ever have before.”

A Rwandan Refugee Finds Home at Aquinas

By Laura Bennett-Kimble

Yvette Nkunde-Bose

How students end up at Aquinas College varies from person to person. For some, it’s the first and most logical choice in a family with an Aquinas tradition. For others, it’s the ideal place to finish or begin a Continuing Education program. And for a few like 18-year-old freshman Yvette Nkunde-Bose, it’s a world apart from the devastation left behind.

“I cannot tell you how much I love this school,” Yvette said. “The people are so nice. You can get help when you need it. I like the small classes. I think I belong to this school.”


Yvette, who was born in Rwanda, has only been in the United States two years. Her route here was circuitous and painful. The civil war in Rwanda that left one million people dead began in 1994, when Yvette was just five years old. She ultimately lost her father, mother, a sister and two brothers, and has lost track of her only known living relative, a sister. Summarizing her experiences, she said, “I have a lot of personal issues from my past. I saw the guns and killing and rape.”


Half Tutsi and half Hutu, Yvette found herself in danger wherever she went, and endured both physical and mental harm. She traveled from Rwanda to Zaire and finally Zambia, where a priest helped the then-sixteen-year-old find transportation to America. Before being placed with foster parents in Rockford, Yvette spent several months in children’s homes in North Carolina and Georgia.


Because of the war, Yvette had no formal education prior to coming to the U.S. She carried 16 credits her first semester, including biology, English and math. Yvette knows 11 languages and has chosen pre-med as her major. “I grew up seeing people suffer,” she said, “I grew up having a wish to be able to help people. African people don’t have money to buy medicine. I want to go back so I can help them.”

Aquinas College Professor Receives Fulbright Award

Dr. Lisa Anne Morgan will teach English in Belarus

Dr. Lisa Morgan

An Aquinas College faculty member, Lisa Morgan, Ph.D., who directs the English as a Second Language Program at the School, has been selected for a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Grant. The grant will allow Morgan, who is also an assistant professor of education at Aquinas, to teach English to future English teachers as well as translators attending the Minsk State Linguistics University in Belarus. Morgan will teach from February to July 2007. Dr. Morgan characterized the award as a "wonderful opportunity" to work with colleagues in Belarus.


Morgan is one of approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program’s purpose is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world.

Recipients of the Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.
>>More information about the Fulbright Program and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Terry Bocian, Athletic Director at Aquinas College, Named Region VIII Athletic Director of the Year

Terry Bocian

Terry Bocian, Athletic Director at Aquinas College since 1978, has been named NAIA Region VIII Athletic Director of the Year for 2005-06. This is the third time that Bocian has earned the honor since the inception of the award 14 years ago. He is in his second three year term as a member of the CAA (Council of Athletic Administrators/NAIA) and as region chairperson. Bocian, inducted in the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2000, coached the Saints baseball teams for 30 years during which his teams went 1079-450-13 for a winning percentage of 71%.


Bocian is only the 24th collegiate coach to amass 1,000 victories.


Under the direction of Bocian, Aquinas College has won the WHAC All Sports championship eight times in the past nine years under his leadership. He now is one of 14 athletic directors nationwide to be considered for NAIA and NACDA national honors.


Aquinas College Students Develop Prototype of Unique Emergency Evacuation System

NaviLife System designed to save both civilian and firefighter's lives
A unique fire evacuation device to be unveiled today has the potential to save hundreds, even thousands of lives from major structure fires nationwide each year. The NaviLife system was developed by a team at Aquinas College with the help of professional firefighters.
In December, the Aquinas Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team gave a brief presentation and demonstrated its working prototype on the College campus before a group of architects, building contractors, hospital personnel, school board members and insurance agents.
The SIFE team first presented the NaviLife system last spring at regional SIFE competition in Chicago and soon after unveiled the concept publicly at Aquinas in April of 2006.
NaviLife System

The NaviLife system uses a string of light-emitting diode (LED) lights affixed in the flexible baseboards of building hallways that guide occupants to the safest, not necessarily the nearest, exit. The system’s developers believe that the system will provide an additional safety net for those who must be evacuated from large buildings as well as firefighters who are entering smoke-filled buildings.


The NaviLife system is also being positioned to reduce liability for building owners, reducing insurance rates and may be included as part of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. Further, the newly revised Universal Fire Code (2003) strongly recommends devices, such as the NaviLife System, which, in the future, may be mandated as part of the fire code for large buildings.

AQ Women’s Basketball Escape to Warmer Climate
The Aquinas Women’s Basketball escaped the cold Michigan climate and headed to the warm Southern climate of the United States Virgin Islands to compete in the First Annual Women's St. Thomas Shootout.

The Lady Saints kicked off play on December 17 as they took on St. Xavier (Ill.) followed by a December 18 contest with Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) and a final contest with Ottawa (Kas.) on December 19. All of the schools Aquinas competed against are NAIA members.

Fall Sports Review

With the fall season wrapped up and the winter season already in full swing here is a look at how the Saints faired on the athletic fields this fall. Heading into the winter season, Aquinas is holding steady in third place in the WHAC All-Sports Trophy standings. As reigning champions, the Saints will look to move ahead with strong performances from both men’s and women’s basketball. Look for a review in early spring.

Men’s Soccer

The Saints finished with an 11-6-2 (6-4-2 WHAC) record in head coach Joe Veal’s first season at the helm of the Saints. Veal returned to the Saints program this year after last appearing on the sidelines at Aquinas in 1996 with former Saints Coach Pat Hoatlin. Seniors Chris Graham and David Juzwiak were named WHAC All-Conference performers, with Graham scoring seven goals and adding five assists to score 19 points for the Saints. Juzwiak led a stout Saints backline that allowed only 1.2 goals per game. Sophomore Erich Jackson was named to the WHAC 2nd Team. Senior Chris Roof and junior Goran Guzina were named to the WHAC Academic All-Conference team.

Women’s Soccer

Head Coach Mark Fales led his squad to a 9-9-1 overall (5-7-1 WHAC) record this season. The Saints were paced by senior forward Katie Schmuck, who tallied 14 goals to score 28 points on the season. Schmuck was named WHAC All-Conference for her play. Sophomore Jessica Greaney was named to the WHAC 2nd Team and senior Audrey Vanderkamp and freshman Rebecca Underwood were named Honorable Mention All-WHAC. Vanderkamp and junior Connie Rogers were named NAIA Academic All-Americans for their work in the classroom.

Men’s Cross Country

Adding to the list of accomplishments year after year has become the favorite pastime of the harriers. The Saints finished in 5th place at the NAIA National Championships this fall. Leading the pack for Aquinas was senior All-American Scott Assenmacher, who placed 24th overall at the National Championships. Assenmacher was joined on the Academic All-American team by seniors Pat Earl and Brian Keilan. At the WHAC Conference meet, Aquinas placed four of the top seven finishers to take home the conference championship. Assenmacher was joined by senior James Jones, junior Zach Blough-Orr and sophomore Chris Leikert on the All-Conference team.

Women’s Cross Country

The Saints headed back to the NAIA National Championship with a second place finish in the WHAC and a 3rd place finish in the Regional. The Saints finished in 19th place at the National Championships. Paving the way for Aquinas were senior Lisa Wojciakowski and junior Jesse Lord-Wilder, who were both named All-Conference for their efforts at the WHAC Championships. Senior Stacey Hoffman and juniors Amanda Strouse and Lianne Griffiths were named NAIA Academic All-Americans.


The Saints finished the year with a 9-25 overall (4-10 WHAC, sixth place) record this year. Guided by head coach Jan Nevelle, the Saints highlight came in a thrilling five-game victory (30-26, 31-29, 26-30, 10-30, 15-10) over Trinity Christian at the Taylor University Tournament. The Saints were led by sophomore Andye Razmus’ 366 kills and junior Michelle Maleski’s 641 assists. Junior Alene Seiler was named Academic All-American.

Men’s Golf

Following two straight WHAC Championship season, head coach Tom Gunn led the Saints to a third-place finish in the highly competitive conference. Junior Brian Hayward took home honors as the WHAC individual champion with a scoring average of 72.3. 

Women’s Golf

In four events this fall, head coach Dan Pupel’s squad enjoyed their finest finish at their own Aquinas Invitational at Scott Lake Country Club. Led by senior Nikki Benoit’s 88, the Saints finished 2nd behind Davenport. Aquinas also beat local rival Calvin College at Thornapple Point with sophomore Liz Clement carding an 83 and freshman Kylie Damore scoring an 87 to pace the Saints.


2007 Performing Arts Center Schedule

Performing Arts Center

The Glass Menagerie (60th Anniversary)
By Tennessee Williams
Feb. 15, 16 & 17 at 8 p.m., Feb. 22, 23 & 24 at 8 p.m., Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.
Ticket Prices: $10 General Admission, $8 Faculty/ Staff/ Marywood, $4 Students
Presented by AQ Theatre.


The Pirates of Penzance
By Gilbert and Sullivan
March 23 & 24 at 8 p.m., March 29, 30 & 31 at 8 p.m., March 25 & April 1 at 2 p.m.
A production partnered with Cornerstone University
Ticket Prices: $12 General Admission, $10 Faculty/ Staff/ Marywood, $5 Students
Presented by AQ Theatre.

The High Rise: A Comedy in Mask
By Aquinas College Students
April 12, 13 & 14 at 8 p.m., April 14 & 15 at 2 p.m.
Ticket Prices: $8 General Admission, $6 Faculty/ Staff/ Marywood, $4 Students
Presented by AQ Theatre


The Great American Trailer Park Musical
Musical by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso
May 10 - 26, 2007
There’s a new tenant at Armadillo Acres-and she’s wreaking havoc all over Florida’s most exclusive trailer park. When Pippi, the stripper on the run, comes between the Dr. Phil-loving, agoraphobic Jeannie and her tollbooth collector husband-the storms begin to brew. This new musical was first produced as a part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival where it quickly became a hit. It was restaged for an off-Broadway run at Dodger Stages, opening September 15, 2005. This intimate musical is quickly becoming a must produce for regional theatres around the country. The West Michigan premiere was recently held at Mason Street Theatre where the show quickly sold-out all performances. Presented by Community Circle Theatre.


Almost, Maine
A romantic comedy by John Cariani
June 7-23, 2007
On a Friday night in the middle of winter, residents of a small, mythical town in far northern Maine are falling in and out of love at an alarming rate. Knees are getting bruised; hearts are getting broken... but the bruises heal and hearts mend - almost - in what has been described as a “charming midwinter night’s dream.” The acclaimed romantic comedy began performances in New York in December 2005 at the Daryl Roth Theatre. The show received a wide variety of rave notices for its funny, touching look at life in the small, far northern town of Almost, Maine. The show debuted at the Portland Stage Company in October and November of 2004, and was the most successful show in the history of Maine’s largest professional theatre company. Audiences flocked to see this show, with its hilarious and heartbreaking stories of love in the time of frostbite. The Wall Street Journal selected the Portland production of "Almost, Maine" as one of the best regional theatre productions in America. The new American National Theatre honored "Almost, Maine" as one of the outstanding regional theatre productions of 2004. Presented by Community Circle Theatre


Sunday In The Park with George
Musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine
July 12-28, 2007
One of the most acclaimed musicals of our time, this moving study of the enigmatic painter Georges Seurat won a Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards for its deeply insightful and highly personal examination of life through art and the artist. Act One follows the inarticulate Seurat as he fights a losing battle to maintain a relationship with his mistress Dot as he creates his painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” amid the scorn of the artistic community. The second act takes place 100 years later, introducing us to his American descendant, also an artist, burned out and uncertain of the path he must take. The groundbreaking book and score by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, the authors of "Into The Woods" and "Passion," contain some of their most beautiful and stirring work. 10 Tony Nominations (two wins), 12 Drama Desk Award Nominations, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Best New American Drama, winner of 1984 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, the 1984 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Broadway Musical and the 1984 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. "Sunday In The Park With George" is one of the greatest Broadway musicals ever written. Circle first produced this musical in 1988, with Rodney Vaccaro at the helm. NOTE: We plan to have Grand Award-winning director Rodney Vaccaro return to direct this production. His production of "Nine" in 2005 resulted in multiple Grand Award wins. Presented by Community Circle Theatre


Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got The Will?
Comedy by Del Shores
August 9-25, 2007
Set in a small Texas town in anytime, U.S.A., "Dyin'" concerns the reunion of a family gathered to await the imminent death of their patriarch, who has recently suffered a physically as well as mentally disabling stroke. In essence, however, it is not the story of the impending demise of the father or of the drafting of his will, but of a rebirth of the spirit of the family unit. Without becoming ponderous, losing a sense of humor or pandering to timeworn clichés about Texans or Texas drawls, the story... shares many elements of a good summer novel: it's a fast, delicious, easy read with funny moments, tense moments, touching moments, and characters you care about.
Presented by Community Circle Theatre


A musical by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson
September 6-22, 2007
This hip, tongue-in-cheek, anachronistic fairy tale about Pippin, the young prince who longed to discover the secret of true happiness and fulfillment, captivated Broadway audiences and continues to appeal to the young at heart everywhere. The energetic pop-influenced score by three-time Oscar-winning composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz ("Godspell," " Wicked" and the animated films "Pocahontas," "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" and "The Prince Of Egypt") bursts with one show stopping number after another, from soaring ballads to infectious dance numbers. Nominated for 11 Tony Awards (winner of five), "Pippin" is equally effective as an intimate, black-box production (as envisioned by the authors) or as original director/choreographer Bob Fosse’s splashy, dance-driven spectacle, which included some of the most brilliant staging in Broadway history. Presented by Community Circle Theatre

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