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8/24/2022 2:26:00 PM

Huntington University is pleased to announce that Jim “The Rookie”  Morris will be at HU’s Homecoming 2022 as a special speaker on Friday, October 7. Morris was a high school science teacher and coach in West Texas who miraculously made it the Major Leagues at the age of 35. His life story made cinematic history with the heartwarming and unforgettable Disney movie The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid.

“As a baseball fan, Jim Morris’ story is pretty near and dear to my heart,” said Stephen Weingart, vice president for univerity advancement. “But you don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate what he has to share. His story is one of perserverance, joy, hard work, faith and more. We want Foresters near and far to hear what Jim has to share.”

Morris’ appearance on campus is yet another in a list of events HU has hosted for the public as a part of its 125th Celebration.

“This is a ‘thank you’ again to this community who has supported this University and her students for 125 years,” said Weingart.

Morris pitched two seasons for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, reaching speeds up to 102 mph, and chose to retire to raise his children. Since 2000, Jim has been a highly sought-after motivational speaker, traveling the world inspiring audiences to follow their dreams and never give up. 

In his latest book, Dream Makers: Surround Yourself with the Best to Be Your Best, Morris shares more of his incredible life story, including the people who helped make him the success he is today: his Dream Makers.

 Morris has received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation and a CAMIE award for Character and Morality in Entertainment for The Rookie. He has been involved with BCFS, Arms of Hope, Texas Youth Commission and other philanthropic efforts, and he launched his own Foundation in 2015, giving back to underserved communities and children.

Morris and his wife, Shawna, have raised five children and live near San Antonio. 

The Homecoming event will take place in Zurcher Auditorium in the Merillat Centre for the Arts. The event is free, but tickets are required. Visit to reserve your tickets today. 

8/23/2022 3:32:00 PM

Huntington University is pleased and humbled to announce that the Step Forward Comprehensive Campaign launched in the fall of 2014 has shattered all campaign goals and raised a total of $56,623,840. This is $22 million more than the original campaign goal, and it is the largest campaign in University history.

In 2014, the Huntington University Board of Trustees approved a comprehensive campaign of $34 million.

“For those of us in the room when that was decided, that was a large goal and frankly, a pretty daunting one,” said Tom Clounie, Advancement Committee chair. “And it had a ticking clock on it. We knew this campaign was intended to wrap up in 2022 as part of the University’s 125th birthday year.”

That $34 million figure included six capital projects and nine new academic program launches in addition to growing the endowment and scholarship funds. Prior to taking the campaign public, the campaign had already funded the 2015 renovations to Forest Glen Park, the 2016 construction of the new Welcome Center, and the 2017 completion of the Ware Plant Science Production Facility, but that was only the beginning.

“Seeing the faithfulness of God in this campaign and the success of the campaign to date, in the fall of 2019, on the recommendation of the Board of Trustees, the Step Forward Campaign goal was increased to $40 million,” said Clounie.

Fast forward to today and the campaign results.

Since the fall of 2014, Huntington University has invested over the projected $7.9 million in capital projects, including

  • New occupational therapy labs ($75K)
  • Renovations at HU Arizona to create space for an entire OTD program location ($125K)
  • The reconfiguration of the Nursing Lab in Dowden Science Hall ($300K)
  • The Forest Glen renovations and new turf project ($1.3M)
  • The reimagination of the student center (known as the HUB) ($4.3M)
  • The construction of the Welcome Center as part of the Merillat Centre for the Arts ($800K)
  • The Ware Plant Science Production Facility addition to Dowden Science Hall ($500K)
  • The construction of the Don Strauss Animal Science Education Center ($1.2M)
  • The creation of the esports competition lab ($35K)
  • The updates to the sand volleyball court and construction of the pavilion ($50K)
  • The UB Launch renovation ($100K)

As a comprehensive campaign, Step Forward surpassed additional campaign goals. Below are some key examples.

  • $5.8 million has been added to the University endowment. That’s over $1.8 million more than the goal. And the overall endowment during the campaign years (2014-2022) has increased by 50%.
  • $3.8 million has been invested in launching five new academic programs, including
    • The Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy — one of the first in the country
    • The Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy assistant — the first in the country
    • The Bachelor of Science degree in engineering
    • The Master of Business Administration degree
    • 12 degree programs in agriculture
  • Nearly $1.2 million has been invested in academic upgrades and improvements, including
    • Additional academic classroom resources ($250K)
    • Anatomage Tables ($300K)
    • Agriculture tractors/trucks/equipment ($400K)
    • Technology ($200K)
  • $4.3 million has been raised toward the Forester Fund, HU’s student scholarship fund, which provides financial assistance for over 90% of the University’s traditional undergraduate students; every single dollar raised for that Fund goes directly toward student scholarships
  • $4.8 million has been invested in personnel and employee compensation
  • Overall enrollment has increased by 12.7%
  • 396 Foresters have graduated from HU thanks directly to Step Forward Campaign programs (see second bullet point above)

“The results of this campaign allow HU to move forward faster to accomplish the mission God has called us to do,” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University. "God’s faithfulness to the University through challenging times and a global pandemic is beyond evident in this campaign, not only in the capital projects completed and the dollars raised, but more importantly in the lives impacted. Nearly 400 additional graduates earned HU degrees as a direct result of this campaign. That’s a powerful statement to the steps of faith taken by so many since 2014.”

8/18/2022 12:21:00 PM

Huntington University graduate Nicole K. Thompson, OTD, Class of 2022, has been named to Parkview’s AOTA Neurologic Occupational Therapy Fellowship. This is the first time Parkview has offered this fellowship.

“Working with the neuro population has always been a passion of mine,” said Thompson. “This opportunity will not only allow me to jump right in and start working with patients as an occupational therapist but [will] also provide that additional specialized training to support me in better serving this population. I am truly honored to serve in this new role and to be named Parkview's first neuro fellow in their new AOTA Neurologic Occupational Therapy Fellowship.”

Thompson credits Huntington University’s Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD program) with preparing her for this important fellowship, stating that the “HU OTD program gave me a lot of the tools to not only be selected for this position but to be able to tackle whatever challenges this new opportunity may bring. The advanced knowledge and experiences I gained through my didactic work, fieldwork and capstone project are what make me best supported for the position of Parkview's new neuro fellow.”

The fellowship lasts for 13 months, ending in the fall of 2023. Thompson will gain expertise in neurologic OT as she rotates through acute care, inpatient and outpatient areas at Parkview. Additionally, the fellowship will provide opportunities for Thompson to share her knowledge with colleagues and present locally and nationally as well as in schools and other facilities.

Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and has listed the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The nonprofit university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). 

8/16/2022 2:09:00 PM

Hanna Tekola, OTD, OTR/L, Huntington University graduate Class of 2022, has been named to the Assistive Technology fellowship at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. This is a yearlong fellowship consisting of client care four days a week and didactic courses/independent study once a week. 

Tekola said prior experiences engaging with the disability community have inspired her to become passionate about accessibility and inclusivity. 

“Assistive technology takes an adaptive approach in which technology is used to improve functional outcomes and quality of life,” she said. “With AT, the goal is to provide supports or change the environment to meet an individual's needs. The opportunity to further build my skill set as an OT through an approach that embodies social causes I care deeply about is exciting and an honor.” 

Huntington University’s Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy faculty had a significant impact on Tekola’s passion for OT.  

“I am grateful for the professors who have played a significant role in guiding my development,” said Tekola. “The professors have always demonstrated grace and care for my learning needs and interests while modeling the essential qualities of an impactful and effective OT practitioner. Additionally, the professors are incredibly passionate about their students and the future of our profession.” 

Upon completion of the fellowship, Tekola plans to take the exam for Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) certification. The fellowship also places her on the accelerated track for AOTA's Advanced Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation. 

Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and has listed the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The nonprofit university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  

8/15/2022 1:59:00 PM

Huntington University’s Department of Nursing is pleased to announce the following 2022-2023 scholarship recipients:

  • Junior Alicen Rinehart is the recipient of the Bruce and Linda Myers Nursing Scholarship and the Winter Nursing Scholarship
  • Junior Caitlyn Fisher is the recipient of the HU Nursing Scholarship and the Winter Scholarship
  • Junior Brianna Shane is the recipient of the Wilson Nursing Scholarship
  • Senior Danielle Cummins is the recipient of the Indiana Center for Nursing Scholarship

The Indiana Center for Nursing Scholarship goes to nursing students at Huntington University who meet requirements including GPA, Indiana residency, and commitment to working as a registered nurse in Indiana. The Department of Nursing announces the number of scholarship awards each year.

The Winter Nursing Scholarship criteria include being a sophomore enrolled full-time, GPA, and commitment to HU and Department of Nursing standards.

The Department of Nursing awards the Bruce and Linda Myers Nursing Scholarship on behalf of the Myers family. Bruce and Linda Myers are the former owners of Myers Funeral Homes in Huntington and Markle. During their 25 years in business, they developed close ties with the people of Huntington and Wells Counties and with Huntington University, where Bruce served on the Huntington University Foundation Board and the Fine Arts Council. Linda is a retired registered nurse with 30 years of medical-surgical and critical care experience. Their professional and personal lives have always been founded on a deep faith in and love for their Savior, Jesus Christ.

Their desire in giving the scholarship is twofold: to support the mission of Huntington University and the Department of Nursing and to aid serious students of the nursing field in achieving their educational goals by providing financial assistance. Criteria to receive this scholarship include being a current junior nursing major or sophomore accepted into the program and GPA as well as an essay and demonstrated financial need.

The Huntington University Nursing Scholarship was established to provide encouragement and financial support to students at Huntington University in the nursing program. Criteria include being a sophomore enrolled full-time and GPA.

Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and has listed the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The nonprofit university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

8/11/2022 12:43:00 PM

Susie Nafziger, Class of 1988, has been named the new director of alumni relations and engagement at Huntington University.

“I’m incredibly thrilled to step into this role,” said Nafziger. “Huntington University is home for me, and I align so well with the University’s continued mission of Christ, scholarship and service. This is truly a dream come true to be back on campus, and I am so excited to get started.”

Nafziger went on to point out that this position also feeds her passion for developing relationships with the HU community.

“Susie is such a great fit for this role,” said Stephen Weingart, vice president for university advancement. “She has a passion for the Forester Nation and is eager to connect with other HU alums who have a strong commitment to this place that feels so much like home.”

As a student, Nafziger worked for several years in Huntington University’s — then Huntington College’s — Office of Alumni Relations as a student worker. She also served as a residence assistant for two years under Dr. Ron Coffey.

Nafziger earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at HU and also earned a Master of Arts degree in student personnel administration in higher education at Ball State University.

8/10/2022 4:03:00 PM

Huntington University and the Green Ribbon Committee are pleased to announce the second annual Night Lights 5K. This event will take place on Friday, August 26 at 8:30 p.m. The 5K will start in front of the student union building (HUB, #17 on the campus map) and will cover ground around campus and the HU Cross Country Course.

This is a free event, but registration will be required. T-shirts are available for $20, with proceeds benefiting the HU Cross Country team. T-shirt orders need to be submitted by August 10 to ensure delivery before the race. Race registration is open until the night of the race.

All proceeds from the Night Lights 5K will be donated to Huntington University’s Cross Country team. Questions can be directed to Kay Schwob, director of development, at or (260) 359-4382.

8/4/2022 10:16:00 AM

Huntington University’s athletic complex (PLEX) is gearing up for an $18.7 million expansion and redesign, and HU alum Ryan Thwaits is leading that charge. With a gift of $2 million pledged to the campaign, Thwaits believes the transformation of the PLEX will bring a spotlight to HU’s athletic programs.

“Athletics are vital in bringing a college campus and community together. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team,” said Thwaits. “As a basketball player, I may not have been the biggest, fastest or strongest on the court, but I learned that with hard work and a good attitude, you can accomplish anything.”

Thwaits graduated from HU in 2004 and went on to prove that very point. Today, Thwaits is involved with several businesses and most recently is co-owner in the new RV startup company Brinkley RV. A member of the inaugural class of HU’s entrepreneurial small business management major, he took the skills he learned during his college experience and helped create companies that are making an impact on economic development and community infrastructure. 

“The renovation and expansion of the PLEX is a transformative project for HU on many levels,” said Dr. Russ Degitz, chief operating officer at Huntington University. “This 90,000+ square foot facility will now afford more opportunities for our students and the community to engage and enjoy events and activities in a first-class venue. Featuring three large arena and gym spaces, substantially expanded weight and cardio areas, a large entry lobby, hospitality suites, a pro shop, a hall of fame, and larger classrooms, this project will be a true game changer for the University.”

Reflecting on the University since his graduation, Thwaits was quick to point out the leaps and bounds his alma mater has made in the area of academic programs, faculty and spaces.

“Huntington’s academic offerings have always been top notch, and the opportunities created by an HU degree are vast, but I want these dollars to be invested in athletics and the experience that extracurricular involvement can bring to a collegiate experience,” said Thwaits, who was inducted into the Huntington University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

With a third of HU’s student population involved in athletics, Thwaits’ investment in the PLEX will make a major impact.

“When it was built, the PLEX was state-of-the-art, but time has taken its toll, and this is our chance to, once again, make this space a showstopper,” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University. “With so much of our student population accessing the PLEX for athletics and physical exercise and with the draw that Forester athletics have within the community, it’s time to make the most trafficked building on campus shine again.”

And shine it will. In the upcoming months, campus guests will see construction begin that will impact nearly every space within the current PLEX footprint and transformative changes to the surrounding grounds.

“People who came before me invested in Huntington so that I could have a fantastic college experience and athletics opportunities,” said Thwaits. “Now it’s my turn to do the same for the next generation of Foresters. I want them to have success at the highest level, and this is my way of making that happen.”

Thwaits believes that we are all called to “give back to make things better for the next generation. It’s our duty to invest in the future, and there is no better place to invest than Huntington University.” He would like his gift to be a challenge to others to step up and support this impactful project.

To learn more about the PLEX project or to be a part of the PLEX campaign, visit

8/1/2022 7:57:00 AM

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, thirteenth president and first female president of Huntington University, was a facilitator at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) New Presidents Institute in Carlsbad, California. The CCCU event is focused on new presidents who have assumed their roles within the last two years.

“I am humbled to be part of such a legacy group of leaders for the future of Christian higher education,” said Emberton. “I was very blessed to have many wonderful presidential colleagues who spoke into my early years as president, and this is an opportunity to honor their efforts.

The facilitator lineup, which included representatives from Dordt University, Houghton University, Roberts Wesleyan College, Abilene Christian University, and other prestigious universities, led sessions on topics ranging from board management to shared governance, financial stability and more.

“Being able to work alongside such impressive leaders allows me to learn from their outstanding work and excellent campuses. My hope is that Huntington University can benefit from what we can learn from others who serve well at their institutions,” said Emberton. She went on to point out that “Christian colleges and universities deserve the best leadership possible” and that “the CCCU allows us to come together, develop learning and leading communities, and create opportunities to intentionally focus that learning around a Christ-centered mission.”

7/5/2022 12:45:00 PM

Dr. Jill Linder, assistant professor in the Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy (OTD program) at Huntington University, and Dr. Kathleen Melei, OTD program alumna, have published "From Isolation to Connection: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Older Adults’ Social Participation using the COV19-QoL Scale” in The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. The accepted paper is a product of a Level II fieldwork project that evolved into a mixed-methods study for Kathleen’s doctoral capstone project.

“This timely study was completed in partnership with Parkview Health to analyze the impact of COVID on local older adults in the Fort Wayne community,” said Dr. Nate Short, assistant director of operations and associate professor of the OTD program in Indiana.

Using an occupational therapy perspective, which views social participation as a critical area of occupation, Linder and Melei’s study explores the extent to which social participation has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and further examines the impact of those changes in relationship to older adults’ quality of life. Through exploring the changing habits and routines during the COVID-19 pandemic and older adults’ perceptions of social support and overall mental-health related quality of life, their study highlights not only the specific needs but also the distinct strengths of the older adult population.

For more information, follow their work on ResearchGate at

The mission of The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy (OJOT) is to publish high-quality articles that focus on applied research, practice and education in the occupational therapy profession. OJOT is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal with quarterly publications.

6/28/2022 2:06:00 PM

As part of its 125th year of celebration, Huntington University’s Office of Advancement is pleased to announce the restructuring of its giving societies and donor recognition.

“This may seem like a largely symbolic gesture with no real value to anyone outside of the Office of Advancement, but that’s not the case,” said Stephen Weingart, vice president for university advancement. “The fact is, this restructure provides more options for our generous donors and creates a clear plan for the recognition of those who choose to invest in Huntington University.”

Weingart also pointed out that the restructure reinforces the safety policies in place for those who choose to give anonymously.

Some giving societies are receiving new monikers, while others are simply receiving an official description to explain their name and history.

The Merillat Society remains the highest honor a donor can receive. Reserved for those who have lifetime contributions to Huntington University of $250,000 or more, the Merillat Society is named after and honors the largest contributing family to the University.

The 1897 Society remains the name of the society established for those who have given between $100,000 and $249,999 to the University over their lifetime. Named after the year of the University’s founding, this society is emblematic of the dedication of longevity and perseverance.

The Milton Wright Society, also known as the Wright Society, remains reserved for those who have given between $50,000 and $99,999 over their lifetime. This society is named after and honors United Brethren in Christ Bishop Milton Wright, who helped lay the cornerstone for what we know today as Becker Hall. He also offered the prayer of dedication on September 21, 1897.

 New to the giving society family is the Heartwood Society, which distinguishes those who have given between $25,000 and $49,999 to the University over their lifetime. The heartwood of a tree is the central core of that tree, giving it strength and stability to grow. Members of the Heartwood Society are the heart and soul of the University, giving her financial stability and academic permanence.

The EverGreen Society is a new society created specifically for those who create an endowed scholarship of $25,000 or more. Individuals, families and companies who create an endowed scholarship help guarantee the future of Huntington University. Just as Foresters “bleed green,” members of this society are Ever Green.

The Pacesetter Society, which was developed as part of the Faith Forward 2022 Strategic Plan, is a society for those who commit to gifting $1,000 or more annually to the Forester Fund. More than 90% of HU students receive some kind of financial aid. Much of that aid comes in the form of scholarships provided by the Forester Fund. Generous gifts to the Forester Fund help make the Huntington University experience an affordable reality for tomorrow’s leaders.

The Baker Society retains its name, as it is an homage to Dr. E. DeWitt Baker, HU president from 1965-1981, and his wife, Evelyn Baker, for significant momentum in academic success and new campus facilities. Members of this society, like the Bakers, have faithfully given to Huntington University for 30 years or more and ensure the University’s longevity.

And finally, the Forester Legacy Society is a new society established to honor those who have remembered Huntington University in their legacy planning, including those who have remembered HU as a beneficiary, as part of a bequest or trust, in a life insurance policy or in gifts of property.

Faith Forward 2022 is the strategic plan that encompassed the Step Forward Comprehensive Campaign. This campaign is the largest comprehensive campaign in Huntington University’s history. The Faith Forward 2022 Strategic Plan began in 2014 and was designed to culminate in 2022, which is the University’s 125th birthday. This strategic plan has guided the addition of five new programs and 11 capital projects, including two building additions, one complete renovation and one new building.

6/16/2022 2:10:00 PM

The Huntington University Arizona summer digital media camp began on Monday, June 13, with a record number of creative campers in attendance. Thirty-six students — up from 21 last year — ages 14-18 will participate throughout the week with multiple animation, film, graphic design and TV projects each day.

“These campers get to interact with all our full-time DMA faculty, several of our current students and our stellar labs and studios,” said Jeff Berggren, director of Arizona operations. “Historically many of the campers have elected to take classes at HU Arizona in the fall because of the great experience they have during this week. We are looking forward to more of that this year!”

Parents are invited to a final showcase on Friday to view the projects the campers created during their camp experience.

Huntington University Arizona opened its doors in 2016, welcoming students seeking a degree in digital media arts. Since that time, students have created regionally and nationally awarded work, including ADDY awards, BEA Best of Fest awards, and Emmy Student Production Awards. The 30,000-square-foot building houses bachelor’s degree programs in animation, film production, broadcast media, and graphic design. The facility features film and TV studios, high-end computer classroom/labs, private editing suites, a state-of-the-art TV control room, a Foley pit, a host of EFP and cinema cameras, and lighting gear for student production work. 

6/14/2022 2:46:00 PM

Pieces of Huntington University’s history will be on display throughout the county this month as the University joins forces with area libraries to celebrate the importance of libraries and reading.

“It’s exciting to be able to see the University’s history be part of a library experience for families throughout the county,” said Marcy Hawkins, co-chair of the 125th Celebration’s Community Relations Committee and director of the Forester Fund at Huntington University. “Each exhibit on display tells a story of what makes HU special and how this University is truly a community experience.”  

A selection of exhibits from HU’s archives will be distributed throughout the county libraries and on display in the month of June. Some of the items include a Central College diploma from 1907, a piece of the original gymnasium floor, Our Town script excerpts with Dr. Carl Zurcher’s handwritten notes, and brightly colored beanie hats that Huntington College freshmen wore throughout the twentieth century.

The displays will be in the following locations:

  • Huntington City-Township Public Library
  • Roanoke Public Library
  • Warren Public Library

Additional locations could be added throughout the month. To stay up-to-date on any additional locations, follow Huntington University on Facebook and Instagram.