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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.
Grace Hauenstein Library Achieves LEED Silver Certification
Aquinas College Hosts Interfaith Conference
2008-2009 AQ Theatre Schedule
"Thirteen Apostles" from Michigan Repair Homes in Dallas County
Aquinas Students and Michigan Reading Association Promote Literacy
Pederson Named Educator of the Year by International Sculpture Conference
An "All American" Girl
Athletic Wrap-Up Fall 2008
Grace Hausenstein Library Achieves LEED Silver Certification
Grace Hauenstein Library

As Aquinas College continues to lead in green initiatives, the Grace Hauenstein Library achieved a major milestone in obtaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The library earned its certification through green features implemented throughout the project.


Some of the major innovations include:

  • Over 82% of building materials were diverted from local landfills and to recycling centers.
  • Nearly all (93%) of the building's regularly occupied spaces feature exterior views.
  • Water use is 32% less than a standard facility of similar size.
  • All adhesives, sealants, paints, carpet, padding, and particleboard used in the Grace Hauenstein Library are low VOC.
  • A majority (58%) of the building materials were shipped from facilities within 500 miles.
LEED certification is currently the nation's green building standard. Grand Rapids is home to the most LEED certified buildings per capita in the U.S. The Grace Hauenstein Library is the first of many green buildings planned for Aquinas' campus, including the second floor of the Academic Building, the new apartments, and the fieldhouse project.
Aquinas College Hosts Interfaith Conference
David Nirenberg, Ph.D., University of Chicago, Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought to Keynote Conference
Aquinas College was the site for a day-long interfaith conference “One God, Three Scriptures: Judaism, Christianity & Islam.” The conference was Thursday, October 16, 2008, and was sponsored by the West Michigan Academic Consortium and featured David Nirenberg, Ph.D., a University of Chicago Professor of Medieval History and Social Thought. Professor Nirenberg delivered the morning’s keynote address entitled “Sibling Rivalries: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”
Professor Nirenberg’s work has focused on the ways in which Jewish, Christian and Islamic cultures constitute themselves by inter-relating with or thinking about each other. His prize-winning first book, Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (1996), discusses social and cultural relations between Christians, Jews and Muslims in medieval Europe and the Mediterranean. His most recent work studies how each of these religious communities defines itself and makes sense of its world by thinking about others. Nirenberg has published dozens of scholarly articles in four languages and is a frequent contributor on religious issues to The New Republic and other magazines.
2008-09 AQ Theatre Schedule
AQ Performing Arts Center

Forbidden Broadway
Feb. 25, 26, 27 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 28 at 2 p.m.
Just released, this hilarious musical revue parodies such Broadway classics as Chicago, Cats, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, My Fair Lady and so many more.


Writer 1272
April 1, 2, 3, 4 at 8 p.m.; April 5 at 2 p.m.
Part of the New Plays on Campus program, Aquinas College will premier Vincent Delaney’s dark comedy about cheating on college entrance exams. “With a lot of talk about academic integrity on campus, I thought it would be a good choice,” said Wyatt.

Aquinas Theater’s Pipeline
New Work Festival
Dates in 2009 (TBA)
This event will feature public readings of several exciting new plays, including Megan Mostyn-Brown’s The Secret Lives of Losers and George Brant’s Elephant’s Graveyard.
"Thirteen Apostles" from Michigan Repair Homes in Dallas County
"Thirteen Apostles" from Michigan Repair Homes in Dallas County

Thirteen proved to be a lucky number for Queen of Peace Parish, which hosted a group of volunteers from Aquinas College. The “Thirteen Apostles” spent their time there repairing homes in Selma and surrounding Dallas County.

“Learning to serve others is what Aquinas College is all about, and service learning trips are an excellent way to do that,” stated Liesa Kennan, an experienced carpenter who served as the group’s coordinator.  “And Selma is a wonderful place to serve. You not only get to help people, but you get to visit some of the city’s historic sites.”


During their stay, the group walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, visited both Saint Paul’s Episcopal and Brown Chapel AME Churches, explored Live Oak Cemetery and stopped by the Old Depot Museum.

The volunteers worked under the direction of Paul Robitaille, Queen of Peace parishioner and ace carpenter. “The kids did good work,” said Robitaille. “They repaired a kitchen floor and laid new linoleum in a home on Eugene Street, installed a railing on the front porch of a house on LeGrande, and built stairs and a ramp on a trailer on County Road 49.”
Pastor Rev. Carroll Plourde, pastor of Queen of Peace, observed that “Every year the kids from Aquinas come down, like the swallows returning to Capistrano, and it is always a treat to see them. I was sorry that their break didn’t last long enough for them to attend the Jubilee events.”
The Edmundites have served in Selma since 1937, when the order responded to an appeal from Pope Pius XI to launch a special apostolate to the African Americans of the Deep South. Queen of Peace Parish was formed in 1970 by the merging of St. Elizabeth’s Mission with the Assumption of Our Lady, a historically black parish dating back to the Civil War.
Currently the order serves parishes in Selma and New Orleans, besides sponsoring nutrition centers, learning centers, community centers and a variety of programs to serve the needy of Alabama’s Black Belt.
Aquinas Students and Michigan Reading Association Promote Literacy
By Jackie Sweeney, Director of The Reading Clinic
Aquinas Students and Michigan Reading Association Promote Literacy

As they prepare to become teachers, students in the Aquinas School of Education know the value of literacy. That knowledge led them to work during this academic year with the Michigan Reading Association (MRA) to collect “books for babies” and redistribute those books to two area hospitals.  The group collected nearly 1,000 books and donated half of them to St. Mary’s Hospital and the other half to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, both in Grand Rapids.


“This group has shown such rigor and commitment toward the project,” said Jackie Sweeney, faculty member in the School of Education and the group’s advisor. “They held bake sales, organized two book fairs and worked at the MRA conference in Detroit, where they convinced vendors to donate a large number of books.”  The group’s officers, Alaina Hale, Elizabeth Koch, Kara Hidlay and Bradley Ingersoll, coordinated this year’s efforts, and they have been excited about the opportunity to spread literacy into the community, beyond school settings.

Each book included a bookmark designed by the group’s members written both in English and Spanish with tips for parents to promote reading. The books are to be distributed to new moms and their babies and to children who have been admitted into the hospitals. The group plans to continue next year and hopes to expand in its collection of books through larger fundraising efforts.
Pederson Named Educator of the Year by International Sculpture Conference
By Dan Treul, junior Student Contributor
Ron Pederson (left) Named Educator of the Year by International Sculpture Conference

When Ron Pederson, chair of the Art Department at Aquinas College, got a phone call from the International Sculpture Center last year, he “honestly thought they were calling me for having allowed my membership to lapse.”

Instead, the ISC was calling to honor Pederson as its 2008 Educator of the Year.


The prestigious award was conferred upon the sculptor at the ISC 21st International Sculpture Conference at the Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on October 3, 2008. Pederson, who came to Aquinas in the early 1980s with his wife, English professor and artistic collaborator Miriam Pederson, says that despite his own work, he views teaching as “the most important and exciting part of a person’s life.”

“The Aquinas community is kind of what church is supposed to be,” says Pederson. “Counting on each other and being counted upon. When you accept help when you need it, that’s how you experience the grace of God. And I think that’s what we do here.”
Pederson, who began his artistic journey in sculpture following his completion of three minors in mathematics, psychology and Christianity, strives to emphasize what he calls the “intensity of the artist.”
“I believe that everything that an artist does - even if it’s not religious - has a spiritual element, so long as it’s crafted with intensity.”
An "All American" Girl
Amanda Strouse Amanda Strouse recently concluded her cross country and track careers at Aquinas College as one of the most decorated Saints in the history of the College.  Strouse was honored with All-American status eleven times between cross country, track and academics.

A 2004 graduate of Lansing Catholic Central, Strouse has been a success and a positive influence from the moment she stepped onto the Aquinas campus. A fierce competitor and a meticulous preparer, Amanda's never lets an opportunity for success pass her by.  Whether in the classroom, on the track or giving a prospective student a tour on campus, Amanda is a great representation of what it truly means to be an Aquinas Saint.
Amanda was recently honored at the 2008 Cross Country banquet by having the Cross Country Most Outstanding Runner Award named after her. The plaque reads: "During her cross country career at Aquinas College. Strouse has epitomizes the true meaning of champion. Strouse concluded her cross country career at Aquinas with All-American honors, individual WHAC and Region VIII titles and the cross country school record. Amanda's spirit and dedication will always be remembered and act as a driving force for all future Saints."
Amanda Strouse's All-American Honors:
  • Cross Country - 2007, 2008
  • Academic Cross Country - 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Track & Field - Outdoor 2007 (4 x 800 Relay)
  • Track & Field - Indoor 2008 (Distance Medley Relay, Mile)
  • Track & Field - Outdoor 2008 (1500 Meters)
  • Academic Track & Field - 2007, 2008
Atheltic Wrap-Up, Fall 2008
AQ Men's Soccer AQ Women's Soccer
Men's Cross Country
Seventh Consecutive WHAC Title & Third Place at NAIA National Championships
Aquinas men's cross country team captured the WHAC Cross Country Conference title for the seventh consecutive year.
The Saints avenged early season losses to Indiana Tech by claiming four of the top seven spots at the conference championships at Riverside Park. The quartet of Chris Leikert (Grand Rapids West Catholic), Rob Veldman (Zeeland East), Sean McGlothlin (Sutton's Bay) and Nate Poirier (Centerline) were all honored with All-WHAC honors. Coach Mike Wojciakowski, who claimed honors of WHAC Coach of the Year, has directed the men's cross country team to eight WHAC Championships and eight top 20 finishes at the NAIA national championships.
The Saints continued their successful season at the 2008 NAIA Cross Country National Championships where they finished third. The meet was hosted by the University of Wisconsin Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Saints used great pack running and a strong push over the last three miles to stake claim to the third overall position with 194 points. Aquinas senior Chris Leikert placed 25th (25:22) leading the charge of five Saints finishing within 32 seconds of each other. Following Leikert was Nate Poirier (28th/25:28), Rob Veldman (37th/25:37), Sean McGlothlin (44th/25:41), Seth Bjorle (60th/25:54) and Victor Rameriz (76th/26:03). The Saints performance marks the fifth consecutive year that Aquinas has finished as one of the top six schools at the NAIA National Championships. 
Women's Cross Country
The women's cross country team finished the 2008 season by taking second place in the WHAC behind champion Indiana Tech.  Amanda Strouse led the Saints by finishing in second place, garnering All-WHAC honors.  Strouse along with Katy Cramer and Alicia Boynton all qualified for the NAIA National Championships in Kenosha Wisconsin.  Amanda Strouse received All-American honors based off her 21st place finish (17:58), Strouse was also named an All-American in 2007. Sophomores Cramer and Boynton finished in 19:07 and 19:41 respectively.
Men's Golf
The men's golf team finished the 2008 season by taking sixth place in the WHAC.  Seniors Jason Lewinski and Dan Szatkowski along with junior Brad Hall carded the lowest average scores for the Saints in 08.
Women's Golf
After winning the inaugural WHAC Championship last year, the women's golf team had to settle for third place behind Indiana Tech and Madonna. Senior Jessica Morse along with freshman Allie Dragoo and Taylor Giesen-Bayley were named to the All-WHAC Honorable Mention Team.
Men's Soccer
The men's soccer team under the direction of Joe Veal posted a record of 14-6 for the 2008 campaign.  After losing three of their first five games, the Saints responded by winning 12 of their final 15 games. The Saints finished the conference season in a first place tie with Madonna, both schools earned matching 11-1 marks in WHAC play. The Saints season ended at the hands of Madonna in the WHAC tournament championship game 2-0.
Sophomore forward Jeovani Pantoja (Grandville, Mich.) received All-American accolades for his 18 goals and four assists.  Sophomore Michael Vaughn (Jenison, Mich.) joined Pantoja on the All-WHAC 1st Team.  Jarod Smith (Middleville, Mich.), Chad DeRussell (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Chris Smith (Holt, Mich.) and Ben Richardson (Traverse City, Mich.) were all voted to the All-WHAC 2nd Team.
In Coach Veal's three seasons the Saints record stands at 39-18-3.
Women's Soccer
The women's soccer team coming off a WHAC regular season and a WHAC tournament championship in 2007 finished the 2008 season with a record of 8-8-3.  After a slow start to the season the Saints finished strong by going 6-2-3 over their last 11 games.  Aquinas finished third in the WHAC behind Madonna and Siena Heights.
Jessica Greaney (Troy, Mich.), who was named to the All-WHAC 1st Team, led the Saints in scoring with five goals and six assists.  Senior Kaitlyn Burns (Traverse City, Mich.) and freshman Natalie Walker (Flint, MI) were both named All Conference Honorable Mention.
Women's Volleyball
The Aquinas volleyball team showed drastic improvements in Coach Dave Rawles second season. The Saints improved from five wins and an eighth place finish in the WHAC in 2007 to 22 wins and a third place finish in the league in 2008. Aquinas hosted a home WHAC tournament game and advanced to the semifinals of that same tournament before bowing out to perennial national power Madonna. The Saints were led by talented transfer Katie VanderMeer, who received Setter-of-the-Year in the WHAC and was named a NAIA All American. A very athletic freshman class headed by Jessica Curtis, All-WHAC 1st Team, and Taylor Rudland and Chelsea Phillips, both whom were named to the WHAC All Freshman Team, look to keep the Saints at the top of the league for many years to come.
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