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1/16/2020 3:35:00 PM

Three Huntington University alumni recently had their senior psychology study published in the Undergraduate Journal of Psychology at Berkeley. The study focuses on the correlation between meeting the fundamental needs of college students and students persisting in the completion of a college degree.

“This research comes at a perfect time,” said Dr. Rebekah Benjamin, associate professor of psychology at Huntington University and supervising professor for the project. “When many colleges and universities are struggling to find ways to help students succeed and persist, it’s critically important to consult empirical research that tests theories related to motivation and well-being in the college context.”

The study was the work of three psychology students – Quintin Graves, Kathleen Morrical, and Brant Shelby – and was based upon a research proposal originally presented by Graves. The trio saw the study as filling a hole in the scope of previous research; while many researchers had studied fundamental needs of college students and persistence in completing a degree separately, the two topics had rarely been combined and compared with each other.

“Having our students publish research in highly selective undergraduate journals like this one makes me very proud,” said Benjamin. “It was a joy to supervise this research project. These students were dedicated to completing this project with excellence, and their hard work has paid off.”

The study was published in the Undergraduate Journal of Psychology at Berkeley, published by the University of California, Berkeley. It is available in Volume XII, Fall 2018-Spring 2019, or online at

1/14/2020 3:50:00 PM

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

On January 20, 2020, Huntington University is doing something that might seem controversial or even racially insensitive. We have invited a white male police officer to speak at our annual MLK Jr. Convocation.   

You read that correctly: Chief Keirsh Cochran, a white male dressed in law enforcement blue, will stand onstage where prolific men and women of color have stood before him, and he will talk about social justice and racial equality.  

Who was the mastermind behind this idea? Rev. Arthur Wilson, campus pastor and dean of spiritual life at Huntington University. Rev. Wilson is an African American man who has always had a strong connection to the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other key civil rights leaders. Rev. Wilson approaches life through the lens of “What contribution can I make to improve the status of people?” And that’s how he approached the 2020 MLK Jr. Convocation.   

“I prayed about it,” said Rev. Wilson. “I prayed and God said, ‘Ask Keirsh.’ When God speaks, I act.” 

A conversation with Rev. Wilson and Officer Cochran sheds some much-needed light on the vision for the 2020 MLK Jr. Convocation.  

Why is someone like Officer Cochran ideal to speak at this service?  
Rev. Wilson: We’re in 2020, many years since Dr. King first gave us his dream of what he envisioned our nation becoming, and I know that an aspect of that dream has to be many people of different nationalities speaking to the causes he felt so passionate about. When he marched, there were people of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds with him. When he was beaten, he wasn’t just beaten with other African Americans; he wasn’t just imprisoned with other African Americans. African Americans weren’t the only ones to lose their lives in his movement for justice and liberty. And I think that is important for us to remember and reflect on. To show that his dream has continued in the process of being fulfilled. Part of the evidence of that is that we have many people in our cities, in our communities, in our churches, and in our universities who share his vision. Because Dr. King’s vision wasn’t just about minorities – it was about all God’s children, black man and white man; that’s what he said and that’s the reason why I feel it’s necessary.  

There may be people who judge Huntington University for its choice in speakers for this service because Officer Cochran is white. What would you say to those people?  
Rev. Wilson: To suspect that it has to be a minority, and I can only speak for myself as a minority, is one of the greatest insults to me as a minority. It is an insult to me to suspect a minority to always be the one to carry a message of reconciliation. But to have somebody who is of that same culture saying ‘hey, we have a different message.’ We do have representation. Our speaker happens to be white, we happen to have a white singer, but we also happen to have a biracial rapper, we also happen have a black gospel singer, we also happen to have a black dean of spiritual life who is going to provide the welcome, we also have a black multicultural affairs director who is providing the prayer, we also will have a Hispanic student doing the scripture reading. The fact that the focus is getting stuck on this white speaker, no. This is definitely intentional, intentional to have representation, because representation is important, but representation of all. And what people have done is excluded white people from MLK Jr. Day because it’s this us vs them perspective and that has to end. It’s us vs evil.

Officer Cochran, what about you? What would you say to those people? 
Officer Cochran: Believe me, I understand the optics of a white police officer speaking at an MLK Jr. Day service. However, I want to emphasize that my commitment to civil rights has taken me to Dr. King’s childhood home, the first church he pastored, his office, his pulpit, and his grave. I celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King on a personal level. His photo is in my office. I believe if he knew there was a white police officer standing up for the cause and advocating for racial unity, he would be nothing short of overjoyed. I believe it’s a piece of his dream realized. 

Why is Officer Cochran uniquely suited to speak on this topic?  
Rev. Wilson: To want to step into an occupation where there is already a negative perception of members of that community, to go into that as a white male to prove there are some good among the men who wear blue, that’s a bold effort. By doing this, this really gives us an opportunity to examine where we are – how far we’ve come. Because by selecting a speaker who is Caucasian, there might be some who would become a little bit nervous or anxious because it appears as if Caucasians have organized this event. And part of the strategy behind this is to have us really think clearly about why we are doing this. I think one of the things we need to continue to build on is reconciliation, unity, diversity efforts, and initiative beyond a day. 

Please join us on Monday, January 20, 2020, at 11:30 a.m. in Zurcher Auditorium in the Merillat Centre for the Arts as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his message of equality, social justice, and reconciliation. This event is free and open to the public.

1/13/2020 3:24:00 PM

Step Forward, Huntington University’s comprehensive campaign, continues to grow and gather support from alumni and friends of the University. This was particularly evident in a recent $1,000,000 anonymous estate gift to the University in connection with Step Forward.

“The overwhelming support of the Forester Family continues to amaze us,” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University. “This gift will make a significant impact both toward our goals for the comprehensive campaign and for the University.”

Officially launched in October of last year, Step Forward is a $40,000,000 comprehensive campaign which will take Huntington University to the next level as an institution. Since 2014, the comprehensive campaign has instituted new programs and built state-of-the-art facilities. It has added a doctoral program in occupational therapy, an agricultural studies program, an undergraduate occupational therapy assistant program, a Master of Business Administration program and the Arizona Center for Digital Media Arts in Peoria, Arizona. Through Step Forward, Huntington University has also renovated Forest Glen Park, built the Welcome Center and Office of Admissions space and added the Ware Plant Science Production Facility to the Dowden Science Hall.

“We are grateful for the faith others are putting in the University and its leadership,” said Stephen Weingart, vice president for university advancement. “As always, we are dedicated to our mission of educating students who are committed to Christ, scholarship and service. It is encouraging to have strong support in that mission as we enter a new decade.”

1/8/2020 9:58:00 AM

Effective January 1, 2020, Luke Fetters, EdD, will have a new title: vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. He was named interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty on August 1, 2019. The decision to make this position permanent was reached after consultation with University faculty and the Senior Leadership Team, and upon a recommendation from the President, the University’s Trustees unanimously approved the title change.

“Serving as the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty for my alma mater is an honor,” said Fetters. “I’m excited to have a role in recruiting and developing a world-class faculty that will continue to honor Christ in scholarship and service. As a native of the City of Huntington, I’m honored to have a leadership role in our local University. As a lifelong member of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, I’m humbled to help shape the academic program of the denomination’s only institution of higher learning.”

Fetters earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and religion (1982) and his Master of Christian Ministry degree (1984) from Huntington University. He then served for a number of years as a pastor and missionary in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, the historic faith home of the University. Returning to Huntington University in 1997, he served as executive assistant to the President until 1999, which led to the opportunity to teach in the Department of Ministry & Missions for the next 20 years. In 2018-2019, he served Huntington University as dean of graduate & professional programs.

“Dr. Fetters’ rich experiences as a faculty member, academic leader, and ongoing service to the UB denomination makes him uniquely qualified to assume the full-time position of Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty,” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University.

The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty is the senior administrator of the University’s academic programs. This role includes the following responsibilities within the academic area: supervision of faculty as well as assistant and associate deans, planning and operating all academic programs, preparation of the academic budget, supervision of the library and academic registration, and oversight of the academic facilities.

12/17/2019 9:09:00 AM

On Wednesday, January 8, the Huntington University Foundation will host the third breakfast in its 2019-2020 Foundation Breakfast series. The focus of the breakfast will be a presentation from Jim O’Donnell, who will once again provide his economic forecast and a review of the 2019 economy. O’Donnell is a familiar face at Foundation Breakfasts as the executive-in-residence emeritus at Huntington University, annually providing a review of the economy.

O’Donnell was appointed to the first named faculty chair at Huntington University in 2010. In 2012, the Board of Trustees granted him emeritus status in recognition of his 19 years as a faculty member. He continues to speak, write and travel for the University, as well as many other organizations.

The Foundation Breakfast Series is held on the second Wednesday of each month, October through May, excluding December, and is open to the public. Breakfast begins at 7:45 a.m. in the upper Habecker Dining Commons and concludes by 9:00 a.m. The cost of the breakfast is $10, a portion of which will help support area students attending HU through the Huntington County Grant. First-time attendees enjoy a complimentary breakfast courtesy of Chris and Janelle Love of Bailey-Love Mortuary.

More information and the opportunity to RSVP for the January breakfast can be found online at RSVPs are appreciated by January 2.

Founded in 1938, the Huntington University Foundation exists to support the mission of the University by promoting education and fostering a synergistic relationship between the University and the Huntington County community and surrounding area. To learn more about the Foundation’s history and ways to support its goals, visit

12/11/2019 9:19:00 AM

Dr. Tim Smith, professor of history at Huntington University, recently published his latest peer-reviewed article, entitled “Gulab Singh and Ang Duong: a preliminary reflection on the problems and benefits of analysing statecraft in Kashmir and Cambodia (middle of the 19th Century).”

The article, which appears in Historical Yearbook, considers ritualized violence in Kashmir and Cambodia as a vital symbolic precondition for societal solidity and modern statecraft. Using case studies about the policies of the Maharaja of Kashmir, Gulab Singh, and the Cambodian King, Ang Duong, the article offers a preliminary reflection on the problems and benefits for historians of analyzing state formation in Kashmir and Cambodia in the middle of the 19th century.

In doing so, the article argues that the monarchs were able to successfully position their dynasties and their kingdoms between their non-western regional rivals and the arrival of European colonialism. The states created kingdom spaces whereby their respective statecraft (cultural, economic, political, and social) could thrive under the naïve patronage of western imperialism.

According to Smith, the long-term consequences of these actions are still fully evident, even more than a century later.

12/6/2019 11:59:00 AM

Huntington University Arizona is pleased to announce that Tiffany Swartz has joined the University team as a full-time admissions counselor. Swartz has been working with the University part-time since the summer of 2019.

“We are thrilled to bring Tiffany into the Huntington University Arizona crew,” said Jeff Berggren, director of Arizona operations. “She has a very strong background in admissions, having previously worked for a private Christian college and a large state university, both in Arizona. Tiffany is a natural for this position based on her love for students, her interest in the arts and her wonderfully winsome persona.”

That passion for working with students and higher education has been with Swartz since she was a peer counselor as a sophomore in high school, where she witnessed the Ironwood High School counseling staff daily encouraging and guiding students. Her experience helped guide her choice to become an admissions counselor after graduating from Arizona Christian University in 2016. 

Swartz firmly believes that working with higher education provides her with an opportunity to fulfill the command of 1 Peter 4:10, serving as a good steward of God’s grace and helping others use their gifts to the fullest extent. She feels honored that her profession allows her to encourage students and to be a daily witness of God’s grace.