Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Grace College & Seminary Military Program Honored with Designations

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Grace College & Seminary’s Military Program was recently awarded two designations: Top Military College from Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAE&T) and Military Friendly School from Victory Media.

“It’s an honor to receive these awards,” said Robert Neufer, veteran’s specialist at Grace College & Seminary. “They help showcase our commitment to aid military and veteran students in achieving their academic goals and fulfilling their life’s calling.”

Grace College & Seminary was chosen as a top school in the 2017 MAE&T “Guide to Colleges & Universities” research study. The award is given to institutions with the best practices in military and veteran education. This is Grace’s second year as a top college.

Grace has been recognized as a Military Friendly School since 2011. This award measures an organization’s level of commitment and success in creating opportunities and positive outcomes for members of the military community. “This designation showcases Grace’s commitment to military, veteran and their dependent students,” says Neufer. The award was given to Grace based on excellence in academic policies, student support, retention and graduation rates, and a military-friendly culture.

“Grace has many academic options,” said Neufer. “Students can earn their degree as a military chaplain, choose from more than 70 undergraduate majors, complete their degree online or enroll in graduate-level theological training.”  Popular military student degrees include accounting, biology, communication and design engineering technology.

A variety of amenities are available at Grace to ensure military students’ comfort and success. The Veteran’s Lounge provides a place for fellowship, study and relaxation. Grace’s Student Veteran Organization gives veterans a voice on campus and provides an opportunity to gather and share ideas.  In addition, Grace offers a recreation and fitness center, academic assistance and counseling services.  “Grace strives to provide military and veteran students with a supportive community of people who ‘get it,’” said Neufer.

Grace College & Seminary employs military-friendly admission and academic policies to ensure that military and veteran students are well-supported.  Grace accepts a variety of military training, course work and exams for college credit and provides the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship to students with 100% eligibility under the Post 9-11 GI Bill.  Neufer, a 24-year Air Force veteran, is on hand to assist military and veteran students with VA benefits and help ensure their academic and personal success in any way possible.

In addition to the main campus in Winona Lake, some degree programs are also offered at two Indianapolis-area locations and fully online.  For more information about Grace’s military program, visit or contact Robert Neufer at 574-372-5100, ext. 6028.


“Art in Action” Column Features Grace’s DeeAnna Muraski

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Associate Director of Internships at Grace College, DeeAnna Muraski, beside her art in Indiana Hall.

Associate Director of Internships at Grace College, DeeAnna Muraski, beside her art in Indiana Hall.

DeeAnna Muraski, associate director in the Center for Career Connections at Grace College, recently designed and created four beautiful windows that depict “the light of Christ shining brightly” at the entrance to her office in Indiana Hall.  Muraski used a technique called “gridding” to create the pieces of art, which caught the attention of local art columnist, Darla McCammon.  The following story appeared in InkFree News.

There is an artistic technique that bodes well for the holiday Christmas season. In fact, you can go visit a clever and colorful display exhibiting the technique in Indiana Hall on Grace College’s campus.

I asked Ms. Muraski what gave her the idea and she said, “We had a competition going on to see which department could make the best door decoration. The contest came up while I was on vacation and was over by the time I returned. However, as I kept walking through our un-decorated door I decided to do something! So I created windows reflecting the light of Christ shining brightly for all to enjoy – even myself!”

I admired her windows and said, “These are really good.  Are you an artist?”  That’s when she smiled at me and said, “No.  I modified a technique called gridding.”

Click here to read the complete column in InkFree News.

Grace College to Host Two-Day Blood Drive

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Red Cross logoThe Grace College sport management program will host its annual Red Cross blood drive on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 8 and 9, from 12 – 4 p.m. at the Gordon Recreation Center, 100 Publishers Dr., Winona Lake.

Brittany Braun, a senior majoring in sport management, is the blood drive coordinator.  “The drive is open to the public,” said Braun. “Community members are welcome to walk in during our open hours and donate!”

Interested students are advised to sign up in Alpha Dining Commons on Tuesday, Dec. 6 and Wednesday, Dec. 7, during meal times. “Blood drive representatives will be present to help students get a time slot,” said Braun.

She encourages community members and students to participate. “This event helps saves lives,” Braun added.  “When one person donates blood, they have the potential to help save the lives of three others.”

The entire blood donation process takes about an hour; however, the donation itself will only last eight to ten minutes. Eligible donors are required to show a form of ID during registration. Next, certified individuals will check the donor’s temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin levels. After the donation is complete, the donor can rest and enjoy a few refreshments before carrying on with their day.

For more information about the blood drive, contact Braun at

Grace College’s Night Market to Provide Alternative Christmas Shopping Experience

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
The attached photo pictures Night Market 2015.

The attached photo pictures Night Market 2015.

Grace College is pleased to host its third annual Night Market on Friday, Dec. 9, from 2 – 9 p.m. in the Winona Heritage Room, 901 Park Ave, Winona Lake. Night Market is an alternative Christmas shopping experience. Many vendors will be present, including those from local businesses, non-profit organizations and independent artists. Items include home décor, jewelry, clothing, toys and much more.

“Night Market is unique because it allows the community to support local vendors, donate to a variety of causes and give one-of-a-kind gifts,” said Kearstin Criswell, director of student involvement at Grace College. “We’re looking forward to serving Warsaw and Winona Lake through the event again this year.”

Participating organizations and businesses include Grace Refuge Outreach Worldwide (GROW), Creative Women of the World and One World Handcrafts.  These vendors donate a portion of their proceeds to a variety of causes including sex trafficking victims, adoption funding and fair wages for workers.  Other vendors, including many Grace College students, will give a portion of their proceeds to Boomerang Backpacks, a food distribution program for low-income children in northeast Indiana.

Live Christmas music performed by student musicians from Grace will begin at 5 p.m. Rise’n Roll doughnuts will be sold by the single or dozen with proceeds to benefit Boomerang Backpacks. Additionally, individuals and families can pay $3 to pack a backpack for a student in the community. Packing stations will be set up at Night Market for this purpose.

“We encourage parents to bring their kids after school, grab a snack and enjoy the Night Market experience,” said Criswell. “It’s a very family-friendly event.”

For more information about Night Market, email Kearstin Criswell at To learn more about Grace, visit or call 574-372-5100.

Grace College Sport Management Program Leads to Unique, Fulfilling Career for Recent Grad

Monday, November 28th, 2016
Kiera Gray

Grace College graduate Kiera Gray


In the last six years, enrollment in Grace College’s sport management program has quadrupled in size.  While the program has existed for 20 years, in 2010 it joined the Grace College School of Business.  Dr. Darrell Johnson, professor and chair of the sport management department, attributes the program’s growth to diverse concentration options.

Grace’s sport management program focuses on applied learning to prepare students for a variety of career options. Areas of study include sport business, marketing, media, ministry, psychology and event management. “The wide range of study options is unique,” said Johnson. “By combining sports and business, students can pair the sport they enjoy with studies that will prepare them for a rewarding career.”

Kiera Gray, originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., graduated from Grace College in 2012 with a B.A. in Pre-Medicine and Biology. Initially, Gray planned to focus solely on her majors.  But when a basketball injury prevented her from finishing her junior season, Gray stay at Grace another year and earn a sport management minor. “I prayed long and hard for God to lead me in the direction He wanted me to go. It wasn’t until my physical rehabilitation that it clicked.” While completing the sport management program, Gray decided to pursue a career as a physical therapist. “It was my opportunity to combine what I loved: sports and medicine,” Gray said.

In pursuit of her B.A. at Grace, Gray worked in the Gordon Recreation Center on campus for her required practicum experience, as a volunteer for the NCCAA championship tournament in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center and as an intern in a local physical therapy office.  Her course work and applied learning experiences prepared Gray for future success as a business woman and owner of a company.  “My work experience during college added to my resume tremendously and gave me the confidence to pursue the career of my dreams.”

Before graduating, Gray was hired by Concentra Physical Therapy in Michigan as a physical therapy technician.  She was transferred to Atlanta, Ga., a year later, and in total, worked for Concentra for three and one-half years.  During that time, Kiera started her own business, GCA Elite Sports Management, LLC. “My company runs and manages a number of sport and athletic programs, facilities and events in Fort Wayne and Atlanta,” Gray said.

“While my initial plan was to pursue a doctorate of physical therapy after working as a PT technician for a couple years, the profitability of my company shifted my focus to managing my business.  But I haven’t left PT behind for good,” she added.  “The relationships I built with physicians and therapists during my time at Concentra may allow me to add another sector to my business.  I’m excited to see where God takes me next,” Gray concluded.

Kiera Gray is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration through Grace’s online graduate degree program and plans to complete her degree next year.  To learn more about Grace College’s sport management program, contact Darrell Johnson at or call 574-372-5100 ext. 6263. For more about Grace’s online MBA, visit


Grace College Student to Host 24-Hour LEGO Charity Drive on YouTube

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
Joshua Hanlon Beyond the Brick

Grace College student and host of Beyond the Brick,      Joshua Hanlon

Beyond the Brick, a Michiana-based YouTube show hosted by Grace College senior Joshua Hanlon, will hold its third annual “Creations for Charity” 24-hour live stream on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 25 and 26.  The web event will raise money to purchase LEGO sets for children in need this Christmas.  The live stream begins at 5 p.m. on Friday and ends at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Beyond the Brick’s Creations for Charity event will feature all-things LEGO, from set construction to interviews with some of the world’s top brick builders.  In the past two years, the one-day live stream has raised nearly $10,000 worth of LEGO sets for children during the holidays.

“LEGO was a big part of my childhood,” said Hanlon.  “It’s incredibly rewarding to help other children experience LEGO and all of the creativity and exploration that comes with LEGO building.”  All funds raised during Creations for Charity will be used to purchase LEGO sets for children in need.  Hanlon plans to distribute most of the sets to a South Bend hospital “because kids there need toys to occupy them while they recover,” he said.  Hanlon recounts a story from a young boy with cancer who was confined to a hospital.  “He told me that watching Beyond the Brick was the highlight of his day as he went through cancer treatments in the hospital.  I can’t think of a better place to donate LEGO sets and make a difference in kids’ lives,” he said.

Beyond the Brick was created by Hanlon in 2011. Attracting more than three million YouTube views a month, Hanlon and his brother and cameraman, John, travel the world to spotlight jaw-dropping LEGO creations built by adult artists. More than 100,000 YouTube subscribers and 800 videos later, Beyond the Brick is one of the most popular online destinations for LEGO enthusiasts across the globe.

“My favorite thing about YouTube is the potential global impact through posting videos there,” said Hanlon. “Children, teens and adults from all over the world – from Brazil to Australia to Norway – can watch Beyond the Brick and be inspired by builders sharing their wonderful creations.”

The show grew out of Hanlon’s desire to highlight talented builders in the LEGO community.  “My goal is to talk with these builders and discover what inspired them, and then share their tips and insights with our viewers,” he said.  “Beyond the Brick has helped bring people together in a way that I never would have thought possible.”

LEGO fans worldwide are invited to watch and participate in the conversation Nov. 25 and 26.  The Creations for Charity event will be produced on the Beyond the Brick TV YouTube channel.  For more information on the event and to link to the live stream, visit Those interested in donating to purchase LEGO sets for children in need can do so through PayPal at

Grace College Accepting Applications for Degree Completion Program in Indianapolis

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Logo-Grace College IndianapolisGrace College is now accepting applications for its Grace Opportunities for Adult Learners (GOAL) program in Indianapolis. The bachelor’s degree completion program is offered at two Indianapolis-area locations: 9302 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis (near 96th St. & Meridian St.), and at Greenwood Christian Academy, 835 W. Worthsville Rd., Greenwood.

GOAL is a unique, affordable program for adults who wish to complete their bachelor’s degree while maintaining family and work commitments.  It is specifically designed for associate degree graduates and adults who have interrupted their four-year degree for other responsibilities.  GOAL classes are held one night per week and on two Saturdays per semester.  Building upon previous college credits and life-long learning experiences equivalent to about two years of college, a B.S. in Management can be completed in as little as 16 months.

Grace College is committed to making higher education affordable and attainable to as many students as possible.  GOAL is priced substantially below most degree completion programs.  In addition, Grace offers discounts to associate degree graduates from some local colleges including Ancilla College, Crossroads Bible College, Harrison College and Ivy Tech Community College.

GOAL classes at both Indianapolis-area locations will begin in January, 2017.  The GOAL program is also offered at the main campus in Winona Lake, Ind., and completely online.  In addition, Grace College Indianapolis offers associate degrees with concentrations in liberal arts and business.  For more information or to apply, visit, call 855-927-4631 or email admissions counselor Bethany Wottring at

Grace Women’s Soccer Secures Trip to NCCAA Nationals in Shootout

Monday, November 21st, 2016


After losing twice to Indiana Wesleyan during the year, Grace’s women’s soccer team earned the final laugh on Saturday in the NCCAA Regional Final.

The Lady Lancers (7-7-5) advanced in a penalty kick shootout over IWU, hitting three of their first four PKs to secure a spot to the NCCAA Nationals.

Grace will play in its sixth straight national tournament, including five trips to Florida for NCCAA Nationals. The Lady Lancers were the national runners-up in their latest appearance in 2014.

“I’m super proud of the women’s futbol today. There were so many obstacles to overcome to be victorious, and they hurdled them all. We set out to live in good futbol, and they stayed the course,” said Grace head coach Michael Voss. “This team is hitting their stride and coming together. We’ve felt this momentum building, and it’s a joy to return to the NCCAA tournament. It suits us well.”

On a frosty evening, Grace outpaced the Wildcats (10-7-3) throughout the match. Overall, Grace held an 18-7 shot advantage over IWU.

The Lady Lancers’ defense held the Wildcats to just two shots in regulation. Grace, on the other hand, fired off 13 shots. Fortunately for the Wildcats, Grace could not convert on any of its chances.

Grace had an appeal for a penalty kick denied in the opening minutes of the game when Meredith Hollar appeared to be fouled in the box.

Midway into the half, Liz Van Wormer shook free for two good shots including one on goal.

In the second half, Grace amped up its attack even more. The Lady Lancers tried nine shots after halftime to no avail.

Hollar tried four shots in the second half but came up empty each time. Grace had to settle for a 0-0 scoreline at the end of 90 minutes.

In the first overtime period, Grace was the offensive aggressor again. Van Wormer tried two shots, and Joana Schimmeland Kristen Bellinger each had a shot on goal.

Neither team could score in the second overtime session, sending the game to a penalty shootout.

Voss sent two freshmen and a sophomore to take the first three PKs, and all three shots were converted. IWU, on the other hand, fired two of its first three shots off-target. The fifth shot from IWU sailed over the crossbar, and the Lancer fans charged onto IWU’s field to join the team’s celebration.

Hollar had five shots, and Van Wormer attempted four. Bellinger shot three times, and Schimmel had two.

Abby Schue earned the 110-minute shutout in goal. She made three saves and was defended well by McKenna Cruz, Carlie Salinas, Kristelle Jadoo, Aubrey Feipel and Clair Snodgrass.

To find out Grace’s opposition in the NCCAA National Championships, stay tuned to

NCCAA BOUND: Grace Men’s Soccer Upends IWU to Win NCCAA Region

Monday, November 21st, 2016
--Photo Nov 19, 4 36 30 PM

Grace’s men’s soccer team celebrates its region championship on Saturday.

Grace’s men’s soccer team capped off a dramatic week of NCCAA soccer action by beating Indiana Wesleyan 2-0 on the road on Saturday.

The Lancers, after winning three matches in eight days, claimed the NCCAA Midwest Region crown to advance to the 2016 NCCAA National Championships in Kissimmee, Fla.

The regional title ends an improbable turnaround for Grace. The Lancers (10-7-3) finished the regular season in disappointing fashion in ninth place. But head coach Matt Hotchkin helped Grace flip the script of their season.

Grace defeated Lancaster Bible, Houghton and Indiana Wesleyan in the span of eight days, battling their way into an automatic bid to NCCAA Nationals. The national tournament in Florida runs from Nov. 28-Dec. 3.

“These guys have stepped it up in these last two weeks. They showed real grit to bounce back from a tough conference season that was plagued by injuries. Today, they showed what they are capable of,” Hotchkin said. “Our guys played with diligence and unity. We are really thankful for the second chance and opportunity to play for a national championship.”

To earn the trip to Florida, Grace had to defeat longtime nemesis IWU on its home field. The Lancers did so in impressive fashion, using goals from Nikola Djordjevic and Damon Binkley to dispatch the Wildcats (11-8-2).

Grace’s offense struggled to get on track in the first half. The Lancers only had two shots and zero corners; fortunately one of their shots found the back of the net.

Binkley created the first goal, beating IWU’s goalkeeper to a loose ball and playing a simple pass to Djordjevic in front of the net in the 40th minute.

Midway into the second half, the action picked up on both ends of the field. IWU had a shot that sailed just above the crossbar, but Djordjevic responded with a near-goal of his own that rolled wide of the net.

Grace grabbed control of the game for good in the 72nd minute. Binkley scored at the 71:34 mark for his fourth goal of the regional tournament.

The Wildcats were largely muted in the second half as Grace’s possession maintained control. IWU had two corner kicks in the last four minutes, but the Wildcats could not muster a shot attempt for the final 15:43 of the contest.

Kurt Hamlin and Robbie Barnhill split time in goal for Grace to earn the shutout; they combined to make four saves in 90 minutes.

Djordjevic led all players with four shots, and Binkley added three shots.

“I’m pretty sure our fan base outnumbered the IWU fans tonight,” Hotchkin added. “So we are really thankful for their tremendous support on a cold day!”

To see who Grace will play in the national tournament, stay tuned to

Coach Kessler Wins 750th Game, Halstead Breaks Record

Monday, November 21st, 2016
Kessler 750 win

Grace’s Stephen Halstead celebrates his record-breaking 11th 3-pointer of the game.

Friday evening’s men’s basketball game was a night to remember for Grace fans.

Records fell and a milestone was accomplished during the Lancers’ 113-90 victory over Grace Bible College in the Wyndham Garden Terry Polston Hoops for Hope.

Stephen Halstead broke his own program record with a dazzling display from deep. Halstead buried a record 11-of-17 from the 3-point line, the last of which gave the junior 35 points and sent the crowd at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center into a frenzy.

Grace’s NAIA Hall of Fame head coach Jim Kessler also won the 750th game of his legendary career on Friday night. He currently sits fourth among active NAIA Div. II men’s coaches for career wins.

The win moves the Lancers (7-1) into the championship game of the Hoops for Hope tourney on Saturday at 4 p.m.; Grace will be challenged for the title by No. 23 Rochester, who is a perfect 10-0 after defeating Lincoln Christian 93-55 earlier on Friday.

“I was pleased with our team. We’ve practiced well, and they played with passion tonight,” Kessler said in a postgame radio interview. “I’m extremely proud of the men’s effort tonight.”

The Tigers (4-3) never tasted the lead. The first half was back and forth except for two crucial runs by Grace.

The first run came 10 minutes into the game. With the score knotted 24-24, Halstead buried a triple—his fourth of the game—to spark a 10-0 run. Chad Hoffer scored four points during Grace’s run to give the Lancers a 10-point lead.

Halstead caught fire with five minutes left in the half. He buried a remarkable four 3-pointers in a 2:13 span to help Grace to a 17-point cushion.

Fortunately for Grace Bible, the Tigers’ offense rallied late in the half to cut the deficit to 55-44 at halftime.

Halstead drilled eight 3-pointers in the first half for 24 points. Braxton Linville was the setup man for many of Halstead’s triples, finishing with 10 assists in the first half.

The Tigers continued to answer most of Grace’s runs, even into the opening minutes of the second half; Grace Bible remained within striking distance at 69-61 with 13:30 on the clock.

Grace eventually put the game out of reach with a 15-3 run over the next four minutes. Jaret Sons bookended Grace’s spurt with a pair of 3-pointers as the Lancers opened up a 20-point cushion.

With the outcome essentially decided, the only remaining intrigue for the final minutes centered around Halstead. The junior tied his own program record with his 10th 3-pointer with 4:25 remaining.

Halstead brought the crowd to its feet with his 11th triple two minutes later. He pulled up at the top of the key and launched his record-breaking shot, which caught the front edge of the rim and fell gently off the glass into the net with 2:29 to play.

“My teammates and coaches put me in great positions to succeed, and I was able to knock down some open shots tonight. It was a great night for us,” Halstead said. “My teammates know when I’m in that zone to get me the ball. I give them a look to say, ‘Keep finding me because when it’s going, it’s going.'”

Halstead’s 35 points were one off his career high of 36. Sons scored 17 efficient points in 19 minutes, hitting 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Erik Bowen tallied 14 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists, and Logan Godfrey produced 13 points and seven boards.

Linville racked up 13 assists, falling just shy of the program record of 16 assists in a single game. Hoffer chipped in 14 points and four assists.