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Undergraduate Admissions E-Newsletter - Summer 2010

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.
Aquinas College Unveils New Sustainable Business Program
Aquinas Captures WHAC All-Sports Championship
AQ Alumnus Honored for Work With Non-Profits
Aquinas Volunteers do a Clean Sweep Across Grand Rapids Heartside District
Aquinas College Introduces Sustainable Commencement Gowns
AQ Graduate to Pursue Liturgical Music Program
A Dream Realized: $12 Million Sports and Fitness Center Construction Under Way
Aquinas Answers the Call in Haiti
Spring Athletics Wrap-Up
Aquinas College Unveils New Sustainable Business Program
Aquinas College launched its new Master of Sustainable Business (MSB) degree - the first program of its kind to be offered in the upper Midwest that will build upon the undergraduate sustainable business program already offered by the liberal arts college.

“With the launch of this new program, prospective students and employers will become natural-system thinkers who can respond and influence change in local and global conditions, positively affecting people, profit and the planet,” said Matthew Tueth, Ph.D., Steelcase Professor of Sustainable Business and chairman of the Sustainable Business Department. “We recognize the strategic benefit that sustainable business delivers to commerce inside our communities and we’re pleased to offer an even deeper educational opportunity in the sustainable business movement.”
Aquinas College Unveils New Sustainable Business Program
Aquinas College, already a leader in sustainable business (SB) education, has built the new graduate program upon the regional and national success of its undergraduate program in sustainable business. The MSB degree is comprised of six conventional business courses, currently offered in the College's Master of Management program, along with six sustainable business courses. Graduate students in the MSB program will complete 12 courses (36 credit hours) over a typical 18-24 month period. Courses in the MSB program will be offered in eight-week segments, beginning this fall.
For graduates of the Master of Management (MM) program, the College is currently reviewing which credits will be applicable to meeting requirements for the Master of Sustainable Business degree.
“A Master of Sustainable Business degree will allow students and employers to benefit by obtaining skills, knowledge and the understanding needed to not only restore environmental integrity and build healthy communities, but also maximize profitability within the work sector,” said Deborah M. Steketee, Ph.D., associate professor of sustainable business and executive director for the Center for Sustainability at Aquinas.
Aquinas College Captures WHAC All-Sports Championship

For the third consecutive year, Aquinas College placed first in the race for the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) All-Sports Trophy. The Saints have captured the WHAC All-Sports Trophy in eleven of the last 13 years. The WHAC All-Sports Trophy is computed using the highest finish in eight conference sports (four women and four men) for each school.


Each sport champion is awarded points based on the number of schools participating in each sport. For a sport with all eight schools participating, eight points are awarded for first place with second receiving seven and so on. A tie results in adding the total points for the tied spots together and dividing by the number of teams that are tied, with the teams sharing the points. Aquinas edged out second-place Cornerstone by four and a half points.

AQ Men's Soccer
The Saints won conference championships in Women's Cross Country, Men's Soccer, Women's Outdoor Track & Field and Men's Outdoor Track & Field.
WHAC All-Sports Overall Standings:
  1. Aquinas - 50.5
  2. Cornerstone - 46
  3. Madonna - 45.5
  4. Davenport - 42
  5. Indiana Tech - 41
  6. Siena Heights - 39
  7. Concordia - 19.5
  8. Michigan Dearborn - 10.5
Aquinas Alumnus Honored For Work With Non-Profits
Aquinas Alumnus Honored For Work With Non-Profits

In April 2010, Frederick Bw’Ombongi ’04 received the 2010 Champion Award from the Center for Community Leadership, a program of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. The award was given in recognition of his work with two non-profits: the West Michigan Refugee Education & Cultural Center and the Opening Village Doors Foundation.


Frederick Bw’Ombongi, who emigrated from Kenya twelve years ago, graduated from Aquinas with an international business major and went on to complete the Masters in Healthcare Administration program at Grand Valley State University. He credits former College president Harry Knopke with the advice that led him to the master’s program, which prepared him for his current position as manager of language services for Spectrum Health. Reflecting favorably on the experience, he said “to meet the president of the College was a big deal, and still is. It made an impact on me.”

In addition to realizing his own success, Bw’Ombongi has worked hard to help others live better lives, both in Africa and in West Michigan. The West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center (WMRECC) was formed in 2006 after he and others recognized the need to provide services for refugees and enable them to become productive members of the community. While most are from African nations, the center is open to all refugees. Thanks in large part to Bw’Ombongi’s efforts, WMRECC has received grants from Kellogg’s Foundation, Frey Foundation, Dyer Ives Foundation, Sebastian Foundation, Amway, Lacks Enterprises, and individual donors
Among other services, the organization provides an after-school program that helps refugee children overcome educational barriers. Several Aquinas students have provided a valuable role in improving the academic prospects of these refugee students. During the spring 2010 semester, students Kathryn Chandonnet, Caitlyn Bonney, Catherine Jandernoa, and Hailey Barton volunteered as tutors. “The kids are amazing and it has been a really rewarding experience,” said Chandonnet.
After starting work to help area refugees, the next step for Bw’Ombongi was to find a way to assist people in Africa. The Opening Village Doors Foundation (OVDF) was formed in January 2009 to benefit impoverished individuals and communities in Kenya. The organization aims to provide micro-loans, ranging from $300 to $1,000, along with the business support and training to help people meet their self-sufficiency goals. Current projects are located in the area of Ngong near Nairobi and in Bw’Ombongi’s native Manga District.
The foundation’s board members will be travelling to Kenya in June 2010 to evaluate projects and explore future opportunities; Bw’Ombongi hopes to one day help provide services such as a health clinic and a community library for Manga District. “I’m a dreamer,” Bw’Ombongi said, but it’s undeniable that this alumnus has already realized significant success helping displaced and impoverished individuals.
Aquinas College Volunteers Do a Clean Sweep Across Grand Rapids Heartside District
The Heartside Downtown Neighborhood of Grand Rapids got a once-over Saturday April 24 with the help of Community Action Volunteers of Aquinas (CAVA). The annual cleanup, called Heartside PRIDE Cleansweep ran from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The new name reflects the coordination between CAVA and community organizations: Brian Himes, CAVA coordinator, and Eric Bridge, the club’s advisor, have planned the event in collaboration with Jennifer Schaub from HDNA (Heartside Downtown Neighborhood Association) and James Schuen, outreach pastor at Heartside Ministries.
The turnout was similar to last year’s event, which saw roughly 140 students work on the project with about 60 other volunteers, mostly community residents. After meeting at the Cook Carriage House, Aquinas participants traveled to Heartside Park to meet up with resident volunteers. Participants then split up into assigned teams to ensure an efficient cleaning of the area. For their efforts, Aquinas volunteers received a free T-shirt, free breakfast, and free lunch provided by Georgio’s Pizza and CAVA.
Aquinas College Introduces Sustainable Commencement Gowns
In a continuing effort to become a more sustainable campus, Aquinas College this year introduced a sustainable graduation gown made from recycled material. The gown, offered by Herff Jones, which sells educational recognition and achievement products, is part of a new line of commencement gowns manufactured by the company Repreve and made from recycled plastic bottles. The company caught the attention of President Ed Balog as preparations for commencement began last fall.
Aquinas College Introduces Sustainable Commencement Gowns
The new, more sustainable gowns come as a response to the growing desire among colleges to be more environmentally conscious. The gowns are made from 100% certified recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. Approximately 27 recycled plastic bottles are used to create one standard sized (5’8” person) gown.
Aquinas and President Balog are “committed to the pursuit of a more sustainable, healthier campus” says Jan Sommerville, executive assistant to the president, “One of Aquinas’ signature characteristics is its commitment to sustainability initiatives.”
A Herff Jones spokesman indicated that Aquinas College is one of just three client colleges in Michigan and 55 nationwide that chose to use the recycled gowns. This is the first year the gowns have been offered.
The cost of each gown is slightly higher that previous gowns. However, according to Aquinas College Bookstore Manager Marian Todish, the price was kept down to promote the switch to a more sustainable material.
AQ Graduate To Pursue Liturgical Music Program
Nicole Storey '10 singing at Commencement 2010

Nicole Storey '10 will continue her studies under the Golden Dome. She has been accepted into the exclusive Master of Sacred Music program at the University of Notre Dame. Storey was one of only eight students selected for the program for fall 2010. A liturgical music major and a theology minor at Aquinas, she says she has had a lifelong passion for music, and an interest in liturgy “ever since I found out what liturgy was.”


Barbara McCargar, chairperson of the music department and director of vocal studies, notes Storey’s talent as a vocalist as well as with the organ and piano. According to McCargar, Storey is a founding member of AQpella, the women’s on-campus vocal group, and “was voted the outstanding performer last spring by her fellow music students at one of the six studio performance classes.”

The two-year program provides students with a full tuition scholarship and parish placement, comparable to an internship, throughout the duration of study. “The program combines sacramental theology, church history, and a lot of music,” says Storey. Along with three other students, she will have a choral/vocal emphasis of study, while the four others will focus on the organ. According to the program’s page at the university’s website, the sacred music curriculum aims to prepare all participants for “pastoral liturgical music ministry,” with the graduates ready to meet the needs of individual parishes after completing their studies.
A Dream Realized: $12 Million Sports & Fitness Center Construction Under Way
By Dan Treul ’09, Contributing Writer
The Aquinas College Performing Arts Center. The Grace Hauenstein Library. An artificial turf field for soccer and lacrosse. A new three-story apartment-style building for student residents. A fully renovated second floor in the Academic Building that features cutting edge study areas, classrooms and office space.
Since 2003, Aquinas College has enacted an ambitious agenda of capital improvements that have dramatically modernized the campus and furthered the College’s academic and athletic offerings.
Last August, the wrecking ball, metaphorically speaking, arrived at the Fieldhouse and with it, the promise of a new era for members of the Aquinas community both on and off the court.
Fitness Area Training Facility
Fitness Area Training Facility
Announcing the $12 million undertaking at an Aug. 26 press conference, Aquinas College President C. Edward Balog remarked on the new facility’s cross-disciplinary design. Scheduled to be completed in two phases, the Aquinas College Sports and Fitness Center will feature increased classroom, training and storage space; new coach and staff offices; a first-class competition venue with seating for 2,000; and an integrated fitness center.
“It will contribute to our academic programs by providing more classroom space ... and provides us with a competition facility that is comparable to our peer institutions and one that is equal in quality to our athletic programs,” said Balog.
Aquinas Answers the Call in Haiti
By Samantha Rinkus, Student Writer
In a country already devastated by poverty and hunger, the 7.0 earthquake which struck Haiti on Jan. 12 was an unimaginable blow. As of late January, two weeks after the original quake, at least 50 aftershocks, measuring 4.5 magnitude or higher, have rocked the small nation, adding to the estimated death toll of 200,000 people.
However, with these great tragedies come great compassion and charity, and the Aquinas community is doing its part in assisting the Haitians. Aquinas’ sympathy toward Haiti does not come merely from a general feeling of good will, but from a deeper connection with the small island nation.

Since 1996, Aquinas students and faculty have dedicated time and money to support a small school in Borel, Haiti, 45 miles north of Portau-Prince. Now, Aquinas students are doing everything they can to reach out to their sister school through partnerships with Rays of Hope for Haiti and the Catholic Relief Services Haiti Emergency Fund.
Aquinas Answers the Call in Haiti
“Aquinas has had a long-standing relationship with Rays of Hope for Haiti. Prior to the earthquake, AQ students regularly served with Rays of Hope in Haiti, assisting in the warehouse,” said Eric Bridge ’92, service learning coordinator. “The AQ earthquake response flowed from this already-existing partnership among friends.”
Aquinas Answers the Call in Haiti

As of January 29, Aquinas students had raised more than $3,000 through the Rays of Hope for Haiti and contributed to more than $550,000 which has been raised by the Diocesan Haiti Fund. Students have also volunteered alongside the Salvation Army to raise $20,000. A 1980s and 1990s Haiti Benefit Dance was held for February 6, along with an auction by Casa Hogar on February 10 to raise more funds.


“AQ Haiti Service Learning students draw our attention to the reality that the present suffering in Haiti is due, in part, to unjust political and historical decisions that have been made over the past several hundred years,” said Bridge. “Becoming aware of the past injustices to Haiti allows us to advocate for sustainable development and the common good."

Spring Athletics Wrap Up
Women's Basketball Season Review
AQ Women's Basketball

The women's basketball team completed the 2009-10 season with a 21-12 record and a second place finish in the WHAC behind Davenport University.  Coach Nash's Saints have won 20+ games in five out of the last six years and have competed at the NAIA national tournament in Sioux City, IA four out of the last five years.  This year the Saints defied all odds with a nine player roster that included four freshmen. 


This year's team was led by senior Joslyn Narber who finished her career as the all-time scoring leader for Aquinas College with 2184 points.  She led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals and garnered first team All-American status for her efforts.  Not only did she become the Saint's leading scorer, but she also became the all-time scoring leader for collegiate women's basketball in the Grand Rapids area, surpassing Mary Randall of Grand Valley State University.  Narber was also selected as the WHAC player of the year and closed out her career as a three-time All-American.

The Saint's capitalized on their at-large bid to the NAIA National tournament and posted the only upset in the first round of the tournament, defeating the University of St. Francis.  The Saints entered the contest as a number seven seed and defeated number two seeded St. Francis in an overtime thriller.
In the Sweet Sixteen round, the Saints faced eventual National Champion runner-up, Shawnee State University. The Saints battled tough and with less than two minutes of play it was a two point game. Eventually the depth of Shawnee wore the Saints down and the final score was 72-66.
Other highlights included the play of freshman Taelor Sanders, who earned 3rd team WHAC All Conference honors and was named to the WHAC All Newcomer Team.
Men's Basketball Season Review
The 2009-2010 campaign found the Saints without a place to call home. As the new field house was being constructed, the men's basketball team had to use various venues for practices and games. The Saints did not use this as an excuse as Coach Hammer's team continued to show resilience in the eyes of adversity. Consequently Aquinas saw their consecutive streak to the NAIA National Tournament come to a halt as Aquinas finished 3rd in the WHAC with a 9-5 record and a 21-12 record overall. The Saints finished the season strong winning seven of their last eight games before bowing out to Cornerstone in the WHAC Championship game. 
Senior John Lierman was honored with NAIA 1st Team All-American honors as well as WHAC Player of the Year honors. Lierman averaged 18.0 points, 5.1rebounds and 3.5 assists.  John finished his career as the fourth most prolific scorer in school history with 1,943 career points.
Some signature victories for the Saints this year included wins versus Lake Superior State, Hope, Calvin and two late season wins over Davenport.
Women's Lacrosse Season Review
The AQ Women's Lacrosse team had one of the most successful first years in the history of sports, combining a great group of freshmen and current student-athletes, Aquinas posted a amazing 20-2 record. The Saints posted 20 straight wins in route to a conference championship and a regional finals appearance.
Using a tough zone defense that complimented their fast break offense the Saints ended the season with the number one offense and number one defense in the league.  Aquinas placed four players on the WCLL First Team All League, lead by freshmen captain Kati Rogers who lead the nation in scoring with 97 goals and 47 assist. Rogers combined with two other all league players Michelle Murphy (45G 55A) and Lauren McCarty (66G 26A) to produce one of the most potent attacks in the nation.
Bre Stockall and Bri Shefferly anchored the defense along with co-captain Anne Parks. Stockall posted a 54% save percentage and a GAA of only 7.04. Due to her strong athletic ability Shefferly was asked to go back and forth between the midfield and defense and ended up leading the team ground balls.  
Men's Lacrosse Season Review

The Aquinas Lacrosse team continued its growth as a lacrosse program by heading into the Carolinas for its inaugural spring break trip.  "Traveling to and playing at Southern Virginia and Coastal Carolina were key to the early season growth of the team,” says head coach Luke Griemsman.  The Saints, who are in their second year of existence, dropped a very close game to Southern Virginia losing in overtime 9-8.  Aquinas then came away with a win at Coastal Carolina beating the Chanticleers 7-4.


The Saints returned home for five straight home games including league new comer Indiana Tech. Aquinas dropped the first four games of the home stand before defeating Northern Michigan 11-5. After a pair of losses to Hope and Oakland, the Saints closed the season with victories over Saginaw Valley State and UM Dearborn. The Saints finished the season with a mark of 4-7 and were represented by James Burkhardt and Mike Matych on the CCLA Honorable Mention Team. 

AQ Men's Lacrosse
Men's Baseball Review
The 2010 Saints were led by the dynamic duo of Jon Good and Kennen Less. Both were named to the All-WHAC 1st team for their on the field play for Aquinas. Good was "very good" as he hit for a .354 average, while collecting ten home runs and 51 RBI's. Less seemed to come through every time he came to the plate as Kennen had a .353 batting average, five home runs, 33 RBI's and led the team with 39 runs scored. Pitcher Joe Welton also was named to the All-WHAC 1st team for his mastery on the mound. Welton went 6-2 on the season with a 3.44 earned run average. Joe also led the team with 39 K's. Three other Saints (Vince Misiewicz, Andrew Bard and Adam Farrell) received All-WHAC 2nd team honors for their consistent play.
As a team the Saints finished with an overall record of 27-24-2 and a 9-11 record in league play. The Saints finished third in the WHAC behind Madonna and Indiana Tech.
The quartet of Will Eberle, Kennen Less, Adam Farrell and Nick Papes were all named to the Daktronics Scholar Athlete Team for NAIA Men's Baseball.
Women's Softball Review
The women's softball team once again enjoyed a successful season. The Saints finished the season with a 31-22 record overall and a 17-11 record in the WHAC. Aquinas' efforts in league play earned them a three way tie for third place in the league standings.
Seniors Sam Kendall and Alyssa Fleser were named to the All-WHAC 1st team for their efforts and contributions. Kendall led the Saints in hitting with a .367 batting average and also led the team in runs scored with 61. Fleser completed her senior campaign with a record of 12-10 and an earned run average of 3.39. Fleser also struck out 90 batters on the year. Freshman pitcher Carlie Giarmo also pitched very well as she went 11-3 on the year with a 2.69 E.R.A. Giarmo led the team in strikeouts with an even 100 K's. Whitney Hudson, Sarah Doss and Sam Klinkner also received honors passed out by the WHAC as all three were named to the All-WHAC 2nd Team.
As the season drew to a close Coach Laska, who is finishing up her third season as head coach, notched her 100th victory. Crystal's career record now stands at 101-50 (a 68% winning percentage). This year marks the third consecutive year that Coach Laska and her Saints have eclipsed the 30 win plateau.
Men's & Women's Track Review
AQ Women's Track The Aquinas College Track & Field teams had another successful campaign this past winter and spring under the direction of head coach Dave Wood.  The women's team captured the outdoor WHAC championship after finishing second to Cornerstone University indoors. At the indoor championships, which were contested at Trine University, the Saints were led by All Conference performers Lauren Mouthann, Emily Popma, Carly Plank and Allison Strouse. When the competition switched to outdoors Lindsey Karpowicz, Emily Popma, Allison Strouse, Chelsey Bonney, Lauren Smith, Jackie Katt and Carly Plank recorded All-WHAC performances at the championships contested at the newly renovated Houseman Field. At the Indoor National Championships Allison Strouse earned All-American honors with a 4th place finish in the 60m hurdles and Carly Plank matched her efforts with a 4th place finish in the 3000m. At the outdoor championships Emily Popma finished 3rd in the women's marathon and
Allison Strouse placed 5th in the 100m Hurdles. Kaitlyn Meernik (Marathon) and Emily Smith (Discus) both placed 7th in their respective events to earn All-American status. New school records were delivered by Allison Strouse (Indoor 60m Hurdles) 8.66, Samantha DeStefano (Outdoor 100m) 12.11, Carly Plank (Indoor 3000m) 9:54 and (Outdoor 5000m) 17:17 and Emily Popma (Outdoor 10000m) 37:14 and (Marathon) 3:06:22.
On the men's side the Saints finished second to Siena Heights indoors and responded by winning the outdoor championships by 39 points over second place Siena. At the Indoor WHAC Championships the Saints were led by 1st place finishes by Rumeal McKinney. The Saints were represented well on the All-WHAC team during the outdoor season as Rumeal McKinney, Ben Hagge, Dustin Johnson, Blake Garvey and Nate Poirier led the Saints to their third straight WHAC Outdoor Championship.  In Johnson City, Tennessee Rumeal McKinney was crowned National Champion in the 60m and the men's 4x800 meter relay received All-American recognition as Nick Thelen, Victor Ramirez, Kolin Stickeny and Dustin Heiler placed 6th at the Indoor National Championships.  Rumeal McKinney recorded a pair of school records during the track season in the 60m Indoors (6.78) and 100m Outdoors (10.45). Nick Thelen also broke the Indoor 800m record with a time of 1:54.86.
Men's & Women's Tennis Review
The men's tennis team stated the season slowly as the Saints won three of their first seven matches. Once the Saints returned north after gaining valuable experience on their spring break trip, the team started to gel and play really great tennis. Aquinas would go on to win 13 of their next 14 matches before falling to Olivet Nazarene in the Regional Finals. The Saints were led by seniors Dan Doerrfield, Tuan-ahn Tran and Nick Ludwig. Tran had the duty of playing #1 singles for the Saints, while Kyle Masteller teamed up with Tuan-ahn in first doubles for AQ. The Saints finished the season with a 14-6 overall record.
The women's tennis team opened their season in sunny Orlando, Florida or in this years' case a rainy, hard to get in a match Orlando, Florida. The Saints did squeeze in three matches between storms and came away with one victory. Aquinas lost their first game back in Michigan to S.V.S.U. and then went on to win five out of their next six matches including a first place finish at the Trine University Doubles Tournament. The Saints concluded their season with a loss to Olivet Nazarene in the NAIA regional. Overall the Saints finished the season with a 7-5 record. Juniors Katie Siegel and Cecelia Vaughn were both named to the Daktronics Scholar Athlete Teams for NAIA Women's Tennis.
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