Fall enrollment at Huntington University stands at 1,209. That’s an 8% increase over 2013.

The graduate programs grew across the board, increasing from 69 to 134 students. That included:

  • 32 students (the maximum allowed) in the new doctorate in occupational therapy program.
  • A 60% increase in the graduate counseling program.
  • New graduate programs in ministry and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Meanwhile, at the undergraduate level:

  • There are 977 traditional undergraduate students, a 3% bump from fall 2013.
  • The 87% retention rate of freshmen to sophomores is the highest in the university’s history.

Once again, it’s a diverse class.

  • Students come from 35 different states, including such far-flung states as Maine, South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Hawaii.
  • 9% of the students are ethnic minorities.
  • 41 international students represent 20 countries, including Argentina, Honduras, Uruguay, and Saudi Arabia.

For the seventh year in a row, The Princeton Review named Huntington University one of the best colleges in the Midwest. The nationally-known education services company recommends the school as one of 159 institutions in 12 Midwestern states on its “Best in the Midwest” list for 2015. Read more.

For over 100 years, Huntington University has been the primary training ground for United Brethren ministers. The new Pastoral Leadership program, launching this fall, will once again take the lead in training future UB ministers.

“The pastoral leadership program represents a true collaboration between the church and college,” says Bishop Phil Whipple (left). “Huntington University took to heart what the church leadership felt were the important elements of training pastors, and they developed a program to meet those needs.”

In fact, HU is launching three masters programs designed for people entering Christian ministry:

  • Pastoral Leadership: foundational principles and skills for effective leadership in local churches. Targets local church ministers.
  • Global Youth Ministry: the skills needed for effective youth ministry leadership in traditional settings, with ethnic populations in the United States, and in international settings. Targets youth ministry professionals.
  • Global Initiatives: foundational principles and skills for effective cross-cultural ministry leadership in the church. Targets Christian leaders and missionaries.

These add to the existing master’s degrees in Counseling, Youth Ministry Leadership, and Education.

The three new programs will be offered in seven-week blocks, with a combination of onsite classroom instruction, online live instruction, and online recorded classroom training. Every class will be broadcast live and posted online for later viewing. This will enable students to learn in an environment that best suits their needs.

Bishop Whipple points out four ways in which the new program will benefit the United Brethren Church.

  1. It is uniquely United Brethren. “The Pastoral Leadership program covers areas which the Church felt were priorities for training pastors.”
  2. It gives our pastors much flexibility. “Through the variety of delivery systems, the program will allow a number of pastors to complete their master’s degree and while continuing to serve their church.”
  3. It strengthens the UB/College bond. “The new program continues to help develop the connections between the United Brethren in Christ Church and Huntington University. We have some superb professors at Huntington University. It will be great using many of them in the masters program.”
  4. It expands the influence of the UB church. “The broader church world will benefit from this solid program for training pastors, missionaries, and youth pastors.”

In 2010, Huntington University discontinued the pastoral track. It was a sad day; from the days when HU had a seminary to the Graduate School of Christian Ministries, the majority of UB pastors were trained through Huntington University. However, it was a budget decision, and a decision not made lightly. Huntington University had tried different approaches over the years, but none worked. It finally reached the point where, because the program continued losing money, they felt they needed to pull the plug.

But now it’s back with a whole new look. And the United Brethren denomination–its ministers, its missionaries, and its youth workers–will greatly benefit.

“I am excited about the potential of this program,” says Bishop Whipple, “and I’m eager to see other areas in which Church and College can connect to produce win-win-scenarios.”

black_open_highResHuntington University is set to launch Indiana’s first faith-based agriculture program, thanks to a $100,000 gift from an anonymous donor. HU’s new Institute for Agricultural Studies plans to offer its first agribusiness program in the fall of 2015.

“Congratulations to everyone at Huntington University for launching our state’s first new agriculture program in many, many years,” said Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. “Recent studies confirm that the agriculture industry is growing as an important part of Indiana’s economy. We need future leaders for all parts of the agriculture industry, and the new Huntington University program will prepare young men and women for those positions.”

Agriculture is one the largest sectors of Indiana’s economy. It produces over $37 billion in annual revenue, and 83% of the state’s acreage is devoted to farms or forests.

Huntington University hopes to collaborate with the state’s public agriculture program at Purdue University. Officials from the two schools have met multiple times.

“Some options we have discussed,” says HU President Sherilyn Emberton, “involve shared faculty, joint undergraduate research opportunities, and service-learning international trips for both Purdue and Huntington students. The possibilities are endless.”

Emberton first felt compelled to consider the opportunity when she looked out an airplane window as she arrived in Indiana for the first time. “I was so struck by the beauty of the cornfields,” she recalled. “After meeting the people of this region and seeing the overwhelming connection to everything agriculture, I began to sense a strong conviction that Huntington University was being called to launch a faith-based program in agriculture.”

The Institute for Agriculture Studies will:

  • Be guided by three core values–faith, family, and farming.
  • Provide innovative, agriculture-based solutions to meet challenges in Indiana, the nation, and the world.
  • Address a growing need for agriculture professionals.

Emberton established an Agriculture Task Force in December 2013. The members:

  • Dr. Del Doughty, associate dean for academics at HU.
  • Dr. Bruce Evans, HU professor of biology.
  • Dr. Dale Haupert, member of HU’s Board of Trustees.
  • Dr. Collin Hobbs, assistant professor of biology at HU.
  • Joe Kessie, senior vice president at Lake City Bank in Warsaw.
  • Jeff Mize, CEO of Ag Plus in South Whitley.
  • teve Platt, Huntington farmer and former HU men’s basketball coach.
  • RD Schrader, partner at Schrader Real Estate and Auction.
  • Terry Shively, President of Farmers Grain and Feed Company.
  • Kip Tom of Tom Farms and president of CereServ Inc..
  • Anita Wickersham, associate professor of accounting and business at HU.
  • Dr. Mike Wanous, vice president for academic affairs at HU.

Wanous, who began his role at the university in July, has a strong background in agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Missouri, a Master of Science degree in plant breeding from Texas A&M University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy and international agriculture from the University of Minnesota. Wanous spent a sabbatical in the United Kingdom working at an international center focusing on plant science and microbiology.

On March 25, Emberton made the first public announcement about the possibility of an agriculture program at a Huntington University event called Feed A Farmer. The luncheon celebrated National Agriculture Day and provided a public forum not only to honor agriculture professionals but also to gather their impressions of an agriculture program at HU. More than 70 people attended, including FFA (Future Farmers of America) members and their advisors from five area high schools.

In addition, Feed A Farmer provided Huntington with an opportunity to announce the success of a student-led campaign to market agriculture in Indiana. The day before, a team of seven Huntington University students took home the top prize, $25,000, for an entry in a statewide marketing competition called “Promoting the Good Works of Indiana Agriculture,” sponsored by Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann’s office. The group’s work will be integrated into the state’s efforts to market agriculture to 18 to 35 year-olds. The campaign, “Hoosier Grown,” laid out a blended-media approach, recommending traditional advertising, movie theater spots, digital marketing, social media, strategic partnerships, and events. HU’s proposal was selected out of 30 teams from 17 colleges and universities from across the state.

Agriculture education is not new to Huntington University. Under the leadership of faculty member Dr. Fred A. Loew, the university had a thriving agriculture curriculum in the early 1900s. Loew served as the first Agricultural Agent for Huntington County and directed the Purdue Experiment Station north of the campus. He is credited with introducing soybeans to Northeast Indiana.

Huntington University has been ranked as the top school in Indiana for its economic value by Educate To Career, a California non-profit.

Huntington was ranked 39 out of more than 1,200 schools nationwide. HU students make an average of $31,600 upon graduation, according to ETC.

The ranking system measures improvement in earnings and employability of graduates against the total cost of the education at the institution.

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton cuts the ribbon. (Mayor Tom Henry is on the right.)

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton cuts the ribbon. (Mayor Tom Henry is on the right.)

The crowd at the ribbon-cutting.

The crowd at the ribbon-cutting.

Huntington University students in the inaugural Occupational Therapy class.

Huntington University students in the inaugural Occupational Therapy class.

Steve Dennie, Communications Director

A ribbon-cutting on Monday, July 14, opened two very significant doors for Huntington University:

  • HU’s first doctoral program: Occupational Therapy.
  • HU’s first campus in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The ceremony included short speeches from various people involved with the project, including Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University. Among other things, she front-and-centered HU’s commitment to Christian values. Tom Henry, mayor of Fort Wayne, spoke. So did Dr. Ruth Ford, the person hired to head the program.

Dr. Ruth Ford

Dr. Ruth Ford

An excellent choice, by the way. Dr. Ford has 37 clinical years of experience in management, acute care, rehabilitation, outpatient, long-term care, and home health. She has managed more than 500 occupational and physical therapists and speech language pathologists, and has opened multiple occupational therapy programs. She also has 13 years of experience in academia, including expertise in the clinical and business aspects of the field.

Joining her are three fulltime faculty and three adjunct faculty. In addition, the program is getting much support from the Fort Wayne medical community (healthcare is the city’s largest employer). Networking will be very important.

What is occupational therapy?

OT2Here’s a very simplistic explanation: it helps people with health-related problems participate in everyday life activities. The “occupation” is the everyday activity—eating, dressing, bathing, cooking, grocery shopping, writing, etc. For a child, the “occupation” may involve play activities.

Occupational therapists look at every environment in which the person needs to function—home, work, school, etc.—and figure out what adaptations need to be made. Examples:

  • Helping a child with disabilities (including autism) participate in school and social situations.
  • Helping people recover from injuries (like the loss of a limb).
  • Helping older adults cope with physical and cognitive changes.
  • Helping a Parkinson’s patient with such things as handwriting aids, workplace modifications, wheelchair use, cooking and homemaking adaptations, bathing and dressing.

The Fort Wayne Campus

All classes will be held at the Parkview Randallia campus, just off of State Street (1819 Carew Street). That’s on the northeast side of the downtown, about 29 miles (41 minutes) from Huntington University.

The Randallia campus is the former Parkview Hospital before they built a new main hospital on the north side of Fort Wayne. The former Fort Wayne Cardiology building has been renovated to include office space, a student lounge, and specialty classrooms and labs. It’s very nice. Six months ago, we were told, the area was “sawdust.”

The program takes three years—no masters is needed. It can accommodate 32 students in each class. The inaugural class is a diverse group from across the country, ranging from recent graduates, to persons with prior medical and business experience, to second-career students.

Take a trip to the Holy Land this fall with Huntington University.

Middle East expert Dr. Mark Fairchild (right), an HU professor, will be your host. Traveling along with him for this trip through Israel and Turkey will be President Sherilyn Emberton and Vince Haupert, vice president for advancement.

The tour will take place from October 30 to November 12. During that time, you will visit multiple sites throughout the Holy Land, including Ephesus, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and Jerusalem.

The basic daily schedule:

October 31: Arrive in Istanbul, Turkey.
November 1: Pergamum
November 3: Sardis
November 3: Laodicea.
November 4: Ephesus.
November 5: Cappadocia.
November 6: Istanbul.
November 7: Istanbul.
November 8: Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee.
November 9: Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem.
November 10: Jerusalem.
November 11: Jerusalem.
November 12: Return to the US.

“Walk where Jesus walked and travel the roads that Paul traveled as he shared the Gospel with people throughout the Mediterranean World,” said Fairchild, who has personally explored many sites in Turkey, including discovering the oldest known synagogue. “This tour will describe the early Christian faith from its beginnings in Galilee, through our Lord’s final days in Jerusalem, culminating in his crucifixion and resurrection.”

Throughout the tour, you will visit churches and ancient sites where the apostle Paul wrote his epistles. The trip will pair scripture with experience as God’s Word comes to life before your eyes.

The trip is $4,450 per person, including international airfare (leaving from Chicago) and hotel stay. Registration for the trip has been extended until July 25, but space is limited.

For more information, contact Vince Haupert at 260-359-4089 or vhaupert@huntington.edu.

A United Brethren preacher’s kid, Lori Culler (right), was named Athletic Director of the Year in the Crossroads League, in which Huntington University plays. Lori is the daughter of Garry and Lois Culler, who currently serve at the Mount Pleasant UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. (as does her brother, Bobby).

Culler has worked at Huntington University for the past 28 years as head women’s basketball coach and 11 years (1995-2001 and 2009-present) as athletic director.

It’s been a good year for HU athletics:

  • Four HU teams were represented in NAIA national tournaments–men’s basketball, women’s basketball (Sweet 16), women’s bowling (7th of 20 teams), and softball (first-ever trip to the nationals).
  • Seven individuals competed at the nationals in six other sports–men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor track, and men’s and women’s outdoor track.
  • Three HU student-athletes earned NAIA All-American status: Shane Merryman (men’s basketball), Pazia Speed (women’s basketball), and Jake Nash (indoor track and field, high jump).

J.D. Collins, Crossroads League Commissioner, stated, “Lori Culler is a quiet but strong leader. She has led the Huntington University athletic department to success while maintaining two full-time jobs: athletic director and women’s basketball coach. Winning this award is a tribute to her work ethic and leadership.”

Culler also launched the HU Athletic Honor Roll this year, which includes students with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average. In its first year, 64 students were named.

Culler graduated in 1986 from HU, where she starred on HU’s 1984 NCCAA national championship basketball team.


Huntington University is continuing to build its relationship with Chinese teachers this summer with English camps and a TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) certification course.

Over the summer months, more than 15 HU students will help lead summer camps and teacher training in China. Also, 10-15 Chinese university professors and students will be the Huntington University campus from July 14 to August 1 to participate in a TESOL certification course.

“We have been working with the Education Bureau at the Doumen District of Zhuhai city for the past seven years,” said Shoshannah McKinney (right), associate director of the Institute for TESOL Studies. “We have been there every summer to do teaching training and provide English camps for students from middle school to high school.”

These partnerships formed over the years opened the door for students and faculty to expand their training to other cities in China. In the past, they have worked in several districts within Zhuhai, but will expand to new areas of the city as well as neighboring Zhongshan.

“This summer, we are going to be at Zhuhai No.1 middle school to do an English summer camp, and we will be going to Zhongshan city to do another English teacher training,” McKinney said.

Dr. Luke Fetters (right), director of the Institute for TESOL Studies, will supervise the teams. In addition, each site will have its own site leader. The teams will be in China from early July through mid-August.

The English camp with Zhuhai No.1 middle school will last about two weeks. The teacher training in Zhongshan city will last three weeks.

While in China, students will live with a Chinese host family. The school and the Education Bureau in China will cover most of the transportation fee, reducing the need for HU students to raise funding.

Meanwhile, back in Huntington, Chinese university professors and students will take the TESOL training course while experiencing American culture.

“I am personally excited to finally welcome Chinese teachers and students to Huntington, since we have been welcomed so many times to China,” McKinney said.

When Huntington College became Huntington University, a few changes were needed to the school’s theme song to keep the rhyming scheme intact. For instance, the song ends with, “Hail all hail HC.”

In this video, alums Bill Couch, Taylor Sharp, Russ Birdsall, and Don Betterly lend their harmonies to the new song. Enjoy.