HU President Sherilyn Emberton (right) with Margaret Pasko, the 2017-2018 Staff Member of the Year.

On Saturday May 19, Huntington University honored 324 graduates during its 120th Commencement ceremonies. The Commencement speaker was Daniel S. Wolgemuth, president and CEO of Youth For Christ USA. An honorary doctorate was conferred on 1980 graduate Larry Lance, CEO of Youth For Christ of Northern Indiana.

This year marked the first year of graduates from the Huntington University Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies.

Each year after the academic year ends, Huntington University’s staff and faculty come together for a Celebration of Service to recognize the years of service they have given to the university. This is also a time to honor the Staff Member of the Year and the Faculty Member of the Year, as well as those retiring.

  • Margaret Pasko, Administrative Assistant to the VP for Student Life, was named Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018.
  • Dr. Dwight Brautigam, Professor of European History and Department Chair of History & Political Science,was named Professor of the Year 2017-2018.
  • Professors Terrell Peace and Linda Urschel are retiring after 20 and 34 years of service, respectively.

Christiana Danielle, a 2017 Huntington University graduate, has made it past the opening rounds of The Voice. Tonight, the live playoff rounds begin. And now, viewers can start voting. It would be great to have a Huntington University alum as a winner of The Voice!

At HU, students and others will gather at the Merillat Center for the Arts to watch the live show in Zurcher Auditorium. Free snacks from The Party Shop, JJ Java, and Sugar Mama’s Bakery will be available, along with a limited supply of Christiana Danielle shirts. The show will start at 8:00 p.m.

The alumni office sent out this information about how to vote. There are several different ways. If you have the Voice app on your smartphone or tablet, you can vote up to ten times on each device.

Voting is in real time, so you need to watch the Voice for the official voting times.

Demonstrating 1968 phone technology are Mayor Brooks Fetters (right) with Indiana state treasurer Kelly Mitchell and AT&T Indiana president William Soards.

Brooks Fetters (left) with Ken and Kay Sunseri at the commemoration in Washington, DC. Ken is the current mayor of Haleyville, Ala., and Kay’s father was mayor when the first 911 call was placed in 1968.

During February and March, events were held to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Emergency 911 call system. Congressman J. Edward Roush (right), a Huntington University graduate and United Brethren member, led the crusade to implement the system.

Brooks Fetters, mayor of Huntington (as well as an ordained United Brethren minister), was part of a group from Huntington that traveled to Washington DC for a commemoration of the 911 system. Also participating was a large contingent from Haleyville, Alabama, where the first 911 call was made on February 16, 1968.

Huntington was the first US city for which Bell Telephone (owned by AT&T) instituted 911 service. Congressman Roush placed the first 911 call to a local policeman on March 1, 1968, placing a call to a local police officer. During that first week, 13 calls to 911 were made by Huntington residents. Prior to that, people had to dial “O” for the operator or look up the specific number for the various emergency services (ambulance, fire, police, etc.). Now, thanks to the efforts of Congressman Roush, 240 million emergency calls are placed to 911 every year across the country.

A recognition was held to mark the March 1 anniversary in Huntington. Participating were Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell and William Soards, president of AT&T Indiana, along with Mayor Brooks Fetters. A US flag which had flown over the US Capitol was presented in honor of Congressman Roush (made possible by Jim Banks, who now represents the Indiana 3rd District in Congress).

Dr. Roush graduated from Huntington University in 1942, and then served as an officer in the US Army in the European theater during World War II. He served six terms as a Democratic Congressman, followed by several years as director of the Environmental Protection Agency. He was an avid supporter of Huntington University, and even served as interim president in 1989 while President Eugene Habecker was on sabbatical. He was also the denominational legal counsel and served the denomination in other capacities. Ed and Polly Roush were longtime members of College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind. He passed away on March 26, 2004. Roush was the subject of this “On This Day in UB History” post.

The first city in North America to use an emergency number was Winnipeg, in Canada. They used the number 999, which had been used in England since 1937. They switched to 911 after the United States proposed using that number. Mexico used the number 066, but in June 2017 the entire country switched to 911.

Huntington University is on the 14th season of NBC’s The Voice. Christiana Danielle Hicks, a 2017 graduate in sociology, was the first contestant in the March 5 blind auditions. Three of the coaches buzzed in on her–Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, and Alicia Keys. She chose to be coached by Alicia Keys.

On campus at Huntington University, students gathered in the HUB for a watch party with each broadcast (the blind auditions were also held February 26 and 27).

2016 Homecoming king and queen Christiana Danielle Hicks and Andrew Dean.

Christiana was an outstanding student and athlete at Huntington University. She was a member of Joyful Noise, the worship team that led chapel services. She was the 2016 Homecoming Queen. And she represented HU as a Frontline Forester, a select group of students who represent the university in various contexts.

Christiana holds several HU track-and-field records. She was an NAIA All-American in the triple jump in both 2016 and 2017. She holds the school record in the triple jump (indoor and outdoor), and the indoor record in the 60 meters and 200 meters. She competed in the NAIA national meet all four years.

For the blind audition on The Voice, Christiana sang Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, and Kelly Clarkson all praised her as they pled to be her coach. Levine, who buzzed in almost immediately, described Danielle as “one of the greatest gifts we have been given on this show.”

Said Keys, “I cannot even contain myself from the way that you make us feel. It is crazy. What you just did was so exciting for music. I feel like you just brought Ella Fitzgerald in with you through Drake….I would love to be your coach. It would be a dream come true.”

Clarkson said, “It does not matter who you pick, you can win this show.” Christiana chose Alicia Keys, who was also a coach on seasons 11 and 12 (and won season 12 with Chris Blue).

There’s still a week of blind auditions, so Christiana won’t be seen for a couple of weeks. If she keeps advancing, viewers will eventually be able to cast votes for her.

Christiana is from Fort Wayne, Ind., as was Addison Agen, the previous season’s runner-up.

Members of the Huntington University women’s softball and women’s soccer teams spent a week helping build a community center in La Mision, a town located on Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The community center, which is attached to a medical center, is scheduled to open this summer.

There were actually two trips. Seven members of the softball team went January 6-13. Then 17 soccer players went January 13-20.

Spearheading the trips, and taking part in both along with her husband and sons, was Amanda Burge, coach of the women’s cocer team.

The teams also spent time ministering to people who live in a dump in Tijuana, and participating in a church service at a wall separating the US and Mexico.

You can read more about the trip here.

Shushan Richardson uses a vowel sound dominoes game to teach pronunciation during a monthly English Teacher’s Round-table event hosted by the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China.

A Huntington University graduate is among 140 persons selected by the US State Department for a ten-month English Language Fellow project. Shushan Richardson is spending the 2017-2018 year training English teachers at South China Normal University in China.

Richardson graduated from HU in 2016 with a master’s in education and in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Since 1969, the English Language Fellow Program has been a premier international exchange program. Through projects developed by US Embassies in more than 80 countries, Fellows conduct teacher training, teach English, develop resources, and organize events and conferences.

“Teachers of English are often viewed as ambassadors of their cultures, countries, language, and more,” said Shoshannah Hernandez, Huntington University’s Director of the Institute for TESOL Studies. “This opportunity puts Shushan in an official role as a representative of our country and our university. We are proud to have her represent us through teaching English and training other teachers during this year as a Fellow.”

Lori Culler coaching her team.

Lori Culler, coach of the Lady Foresters, has been cited as the winningest active women’s basketball coach in NAIA Division II. She has accumulated 560 wins over the last 31 years for a win percentage of .607. She has now begun her 31st year as coach, and the team is off to a 4-1 start.

L-r: Garry, Lois, and Bobby Culler.

Lori is the daughter of Rev. Garry and Lois Culler, a long-time ministerial couple in Pennsylvania. Garry is currently Congregational Care Pastor at Mount Pleasant UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. Lori’s brother, Bobby, is youth pastor of Mount Pleasant.

Lori’s teams have racked up these accomplishments:

  • NCCAA national championships in 1991 and 1992.
  • 23 winning seasons, with an average of 18 wins per season.
  • Seven conference titles, with five teams going undefeated in the conference.
  • Six trips to the NAIA national tournament, finishing in the Sweet Sixteen three times.
  • 29 players named as NAIA or NCCAA all-Americans.
  • 70 players named to all-conference teams.
  • Two conference Players of the Year: Amy Bechtel (1999) and Miranda Palmer (2017).

In addition to coaching, Lori Culler has been the Huntington University athletic director 1995-2001 and 2009 to the present. She graduated from HU in 1986, having starred on the 1984 NCCAA national championship basketball team.

Twice, Culler was named NCCAA National Coach of the Year, and she has been the conference Coach of the Year nine times. In October 2006, she was inducted into HU’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

David Phelps, winner of multiple Dove and Grammy awards, will perform his Classic Christmas concert on Friday, December 8, at Huntington University’s Merillat Center for the Arts. Phelps is best known as the tenor with the Gaither Vocal Band. He has performed at numerous prestigious venues across the globe, including the White House, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

The Classic Christmas concert is one of more than a dozen Phelps and his seven-piece musical entourage will make during November and December. This musical event will be a special evening of worship and will feature many of the songs included on Phelps’ O Holy Night recording, as well as his recently released Freedom recording.

The doors will open for the event at 7:00 p.m. with the concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Reserved-seating tickets are $18 and $25, and VIP tickets will cost $50. VIP tickets include dinner with Huntington’s President, Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, at 6 p.m., attendance at Phelps’ sound check, and a question and answer session prior to dinner.

Tickets are available by calling (260) 359-4261 or purchasing online at www.huntington.edu/BoxOffice.

Huntington University’s fall enrollment is the largest in its 120-year history: 1,321 students. It also marks four consecutive years of enrollment growth, and an increase of 21 students over the 2016 total.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • 913 traditional undergraduate students at Huntington’s main campus in Huntington, Ind.
  • 87 undergraduate students at its Peoria, Arizona, location.
  • 79 adult students enrolled in professional programs.
  • 242 graduate students.

Looking a little deeper: the student body includes 131 ethnic minorities from the United States (12% of the total students), and 47 international students from 24 different countries.

With the launch of the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies in 2015, there are now 39 declared agriculture majors. In addition, 100 students are currently studying toward the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy.

“What a joy to see so many students and their families seeing the value of a Huntington University degree!” said Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University. “This past year demonstrated a piqued interest in academic programs at Huntington, as evidenced by a 20 percent increase in campus visits. We look forward to continuing this trajectory and telling the Forester story.”