Beaman Home Receives Gifts of Art from Grace College Students

May 12th, 2017

Grace College Art Integrations instructor Cindy Bryan (far left) with student artists in front of a gift of art to the Beaman Home. Students pictured left to right are: Riley Smith, Keri Koenig, Deborah Jackson, Michelle Sweers, Kaylee Kercher, Alexis Bolkema, Lauren Rekeweg, Cami Weaver, Carley Brechner, and Kelsey Kirkendall.


Grace College Art Integrations students and their instructor, Cindy Bryan, revealed the compilation of their semester’s work at the Beaman Home on Wednesday, May 10.  Ten students created paintings, illustrations, ceramics and a wall mural at the Beaman Home to fulfill class and applied learning requirements.

“Each spring, students in Art Integrations apply their artistry to a community space, place or cause.  With the renovation of the Beaman Home last year, we knew a great opportunity existed for collaboration and contributions from our students,” said Kim M. Reiff, chair, Department of Visual, Performing and Media Arts at Grace College.

Grace College art students sought to create art with the power to elevate, enrich and contribute to the healing of those living in the Beaman Home, a safe haven and service provider in Warsaw for domestic violence victims and their children.  Art themes developed by the students included “safari,” illustrated by a mother elephant hovering protectively over her young, “lighthouse,” to symbolize hope for the lost, and “botanical,” to represent the beauty of new life.  A total of 26 pieces were completed by student artists; the largest work is the children’s activity room wall mural.

Two Grace students, Kaylee Kercher and Michelle Sweers, painted the ocean scene 6-by-25-foot mural.  “When we walked into the children’s room, we knew an ocean theme would be perfect.  The glass blocks throughout the room give it a tank feeling – like being at an aquarium,” explained Kercher.

The mural took approximately 85 hours to complete.  “We loved creating this mural for the Beaman Home.  Michelle and I hope that it will bring joy and inspire creativity from the children and parents who interact with it for years to come,” said Kercher.

On Wednesday, Prof. Bryan and students hung and placed art work throughout the recently renovated facility which now includes 11 resident rooms, three living rooms, a resource library and computer lab.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the students’ artistic contributions to our facility,” said Tracie Hodson, executive director of the Beaman Home.  “The children’s activity room mural and all of the pieces throughout the building add warmth, life and hope to those who call Beaman home.  The work by these students is a true gift to us!”

The Grace College Department of Visual, Performing and Media Arts equips students to create and communicate with expertise to a visually oriented world.  Students are trained to demonstrate excellence in creative work that serves in their calling as artists, Christians and professionals.  For more information, please call 574-372-5100, ext. 6021 or visit

Carley Brechner poses by her four-panel acrylic painting, “Lighthouse.”

Mural artists Michelle Sweers (left) and Kaylee Kercher in front of their art at Beaman Home.

Grace College Sells Winona Lake Property to Silveus Insurance

May 12th, 2017

Grace College & Seminary has reached an agreement with Silveus Insurance Group for purchase of its property between 9th and 12th Streets in Winona Lake.  Silveus plans to use the property to build a new corporate headquarters.  The Winona Heritage Room, which is located on the property, will continue to be operated as a community and events center space.

Silveus Insurance Group is a national leader in crop insurance.  Since the 1940s the company has sought to help farmers manage risk.  Now in its fourth generation of leadership, the company has grown to employ nearly 150 people in several Warsaw and Winona Lake locations.

“We are thrilled to soon house all Silveus employees under one roof,” said Craig Snow, chairman of the board at Silveus Insurance Group.  “The growth of our company over the last several years has necessitated a new headquarters.  Constructing a facility next to The Village at Winona and very close to Grace College is ideal,” he continued.  “We look forward to partnering with The Village and exploring new connections with Grace College and its students.”

Mary Louise Miller, who founded The Village at Winona along with her late husband Dr. Dane Miller, says the location of Silveus next to The Village will be a benefit to the community.

“Silveus Insurance is a community-minded company that will add beauty and prosperity to Winona Lake.  I am very pleased to welcome Silveus as a new neighbor and friend of The Village at Winona,” she said.

Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College & Seminary, commented on the synergy between Grace’s new agribusiness program and Silveus’s new headquarters.

“Silveus has been a long-time supporter of Grace College and our students,” said Katip.  “Many Grace alumni work at Silveus, and many students have enjoyed internships at the company.  With the start of our agribusiness associate and bachelor degree programs this fall, we anticipate even more meaningful internship and job opportunities for Grace students in the future.”

According to Katip, the agreement will also be a boon for the Winona Lake community.

“Grace College students, faculty and staff regularly enjoy all that The Village has to offer.  From restaurants to shops and recreation opportunities, there is so much to appreciate in The Village at Winona,” said Katip.  “Certainly the addition of 150 Silveus employees in Winona Lake each week day will benefit all involved.  We look forward to ongoing, strong connections between Grace College and the Winona Lake community.”

Lilly Center Educational Programs Wrap Up Successful School Year

May 11th, 2017

The Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams Classroom Lake Experience program distributed 29 aquariums during the 2016-2017 school year and hosted aquatic petting zoos in six schools.

As part of the Classroom Lake Experience program, aquariums are located in classrooms, libraries and community centers around Kosciusko County to educate students and residents about caring for local lakes and streams. Each aquarium houses a variety of fish species found in local waterways, including bluegill, bass and catfish, and crayfish.

The Classroom Lake Experience program originally started as a K-12 education effort. However, the aquariums can now also be found in local community centers and offices including North Webster Community Center, Syracuse Community Center, and Kosciusko Community YMCA. These aquariums provide an opportunity for community education concerning Kosciusko County’s lakes that stretches beyond the classroom.

Each aquarium is sponsored by a local business. Sponsors this year include Cargill, City of Warsaw, CTB, Inc., The Dekko Foundation, Paragon Medical, Hand Family Foundation, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, The Papers, Syracuse Lake Association, Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, Winona Lake Preservation Association, and Zimmer Biomet.

In addition to aquariums, the Lilly Center also brought aquatic petting zoos to kindergarten classrooms across the county during the 2016-2017 school year. Through this program, students learn about and interact with crayfish, catfish, turtles, and frogs. This year’s sponsors include The Papers, Inc., Louis Dreyfus Commodities, The Dekko Foundation, and Anderson Farms.

These unique, hands-on, educational programs would not be available without the support of local businesses and organizations. If your organization or business is interested in sponsoring the Lilly Center’s educational programs, visit

Second Annual Grace College & Village at Winona Festival of Music Announced

May 9th, 2017


Grace College and Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts will partner to present the second annual Grace College & Village at Winona Festival of Music, a series of seven concerts of artistic excellence and musical variety. The concerts will take place June 3 through November 25 in Winona Lake, Ind.

The Festival will feature local and regional music talent with the intention of providing family-friendly, community-oriented entertainment.  Walter Brath, Festival of Music coordinator, sought to build on the success of last year’s inaugural festival and add new variety to the 2017 concerts.  “Audiences can expect the same high-quality music entertainment with some familiar artists along with new bands, ensembles and concerts this year,” said Brath.

The following events are planned for the 2017 Village at Winona Festival of Music:

Chamber Music: Saturday, June 3, at the Winona Lake Village Pavilion.  This free, light-classical and Dixieland concert will feature Scott Workman and Shana Brath, Symphony of the Lakes string quartet and the Winona Lake Dixieland Band.

Southern Gospel: Friday, June 16, at the Winona Heritage Room.  Patrick Woods, a talented and experienced fingerstyle guitarist based in Indiana, will open the concert. Then The Burchfield Brothers will take the stage to play a variety of songs from Smokey Mountain Jazz to gospel and classical selections.

Celebrate America Pops Concert: Saturday, July 1, outdoors in the Village at Winona.  Symphony of the Lakes will perform a free outdoor concert prior to the July 4 fireworks celebration.

Jazz in the Village: Saturday, July 29, at the Hillside Amphitheater.  This free concert will feature Margaret Murphy Webb Group and the New Millennium Jazz Band.

Instrumental: Tuesday, Aug. 8, at the Winona Heritage Room.  Tim Zimmerman and The King’s Brass will perform sacred music from their latest CD, “Hope,” as well as familiar classics.

Contemporary Christian: Friday, Sept. 8, at the Winona Heritage Room.  King’s Kaleidoscope, a Seattle-based band that uses an eclectic blend of modern woodwind, string and brass instruments, will perform a collection of contemporary Christian songs.

Tree Lighting Caroling: Saturday, Nov. 25.   The community is invited to attend and participate in caroling at the annual tree lighting ceremony in the Village at Winona.

Walter Brath joined Grace College’s School of Arts and Sciences faculty in 2016 as the department of visual, performing, and media arts as assistant professor of worship arts and program director of performing arts. Aided by his extensive background in worship music ministry, Brath leads in building Grace’s worship arts program and teaches students to fuse musical talents with leadership, technology, visual and theatre arts.  This is his first year serving as Festival of Music coordinator.

The 2017 Festival of Music is sponsored by Grace College, Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts and The Village at Winona.  Some concerts will be free of charge while others will require a low-cost ticket.  Details on concert times, locations and ticket information will be announced as the concerts approach.  For more information, please visit or contact festival coordinator Walter Brath at

Grace’s Track & Field Team Enjoys Plethora of Awards at League Championships

May 8th, 2017
Grace's 13 All-League Track and Field Performers

Grace’s 13 All-League Track and Field Performers

The Crossroads League Championships produced 13 All-League performers for Grace’s track and field team on Friday and Saturday.

The meet, held at Taylor University, saw Grace’s men’s team finish fifth and the women end in seventh. The men’s squad finished with 89 points, the most in 15 years. The previous high in that span was 61 points.

Three events resulted in league champions for Grace. Macallister Seitz won the discus in a school record-tying heave of 167-0 feet.

Raven Arellano defended her title in the 5,000-meter run in a time of 18:10.97, and the men’s 4×800 relay team of Hunter Reed, Tyler Houvener, Nathan Lane and Sam Hall won the crown in 7:53.30.

Overall, Grace had 13 individuals earn All-League status (top-three finish). Bennett Parker was the runner-up in the high jump, leaping 6-6, and the men’s 4×400 (Nolan Miller, KeJuan Leek, Sam Hall, Joel Zook) was second in a season-best time of 3:20.01.

Jacob Brown and Isaac Stuckey finished second and third respectively in the hammer throw; Brown’s mark landed at 172-5 with Stuckey’s at 171-9.

Hannah Treadway was Grace’s final All-League honoree. She finished third in the javelin at 117-1.

Treadway also ended in fifth in the discus and sixth in the hammer, both personal-best throws.

Hall finished fourth in the 800 at 1:56.13, and Brown was also fourth in the javelin at 147-7.

Caleb Dudeck (hammer), Zook (400), Brandon Smith (steeplechase) and Caleb Brown (discus) all finished sixth in their respective events. Nolan Miller was fifth in the 400 hurdles with a PR time of 56.72, and William Shafer was seventh in the discus at 132-4.

“The tone was set for us on Friday when the 4×800 team captured first place early in the meet. Macallister [Seitz] followed with a win in the discus, and Bennett [Parker] was runner-up in the high jump,” said Grace head coach Jeff Raymond. “I am so pleased with the way we competed in a conference that is getting better every year. To produce 13 All-League performers is a significant accomplishment for our program.”

Next up, the Lancers turn their focus to national tournaments. Grace will send 26 student-athletes to the NCCAA National Championships next weekend in Shawnee, Okla., followed by the NAIA Championships starting May 24

Grace Grad Pursues Dream Career

May 8th, 2017
Pictured, from left, are Grace Whalen, Brooklyn Whalen, 6, Lucas Whalen and Grant Whalen, 2. Photo courtesy of InkFreeNews.

Pictured, from left, are Grace Whalen, Brooklyn Whalen, 6, Lucas Whalen and Grant Whalen, 2. Photo courtesy of InkFreeNews.


Grace Whalen, resident of Warsaw and a Grace College graduate, recently embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure. Whalen graduated from Grace with degrees in psychology and sociology. She quickly discovered, however, that her creativity and ability to organize were designed for a  different career: event planning. The following is an article from InkFreeNews.

Growing up in Marlette, Mich., Whalen got a scholarship to play basketball at Grace College. With the help of their mutual friends she met her husband, Lucas, and they decided to stay in the area. After they were both out of college, Whalen graduating with a degree in psychology and sociology, they got married and bought a house. After reading an article by an event planner who suggested a creative and organized mind is the best recipe for an event planner, Whalen began working toward her career.

There was no place in the area where she could simply get a job so she made the choice to begin volunteering her time working with the housing authority, chamber of commerce, Combined Community Services and Tri Kappa on their events. According to Whalen, “I wanted to earn my stripes and prove myself.” Working with Dana Huffer and other area businesses helped get her business name become well respected within the community.

Whalen Creative Group is currently in its ninth year of business. One of the first things she had to do was figure out how to get clients. The best way was through referrals and she discovered vendors are her greatest ally in referring clients to her. Originally Whalen wanted to be an all around event planner but she learned quickly, after only a couple years, weddings were her niche.

Her first bride she met through some mutual friends and things just seemed to fall into place as Whalen got her first client. After she planned her first wedding, Whalen said she “planned one wedding and then another wedding and then another” and things took off from there.

She considers each wedding a learning experience and she has worked with putting packages together for clients and meeting with them monthly so they are able to build a relationship and gain trust. While previously Whalen had limited herself to 12 weddings a year, she is now limiting herself to only five. She wants to take the time to refresh, spend time with her family and get creative again. That way she is able to “come up with new innovations and fresh ideas.”

Read the full story here.

Grace College Students Convert Used Vegetable Oil to Biodiesel

May 5th, 2017
Grace College freshmen Ryan Buzalski (left) and John Marhefka (right) stnd with the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Mark Norris. Ryan is holding a graduated cyclinder containing clear biodiesel made from the used vegetable oil held by John.

Grace College freshmen Ryan Buzalski (left) and John Marhefka (right) stand with the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Mark Norris. Ryan is holding a graduated cyclinder containing clear biodiesel made from the used vegetable oil held by John.


For the second consecutive year, Grace College’s General Chemistry II students successfully converted used vegetable oil from Alpha Dining to biodiesel. In addition to the general chemistry students, the students in the Introduction to Chemistry course also made biodiesel this semester.

Biodiesel is created from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant greases. The clean-burning fuel is known for being biodegradable and producing fewer air pollutants. “This science covers multiple issues all at the same time.  It’s so important to teach our students about our role in the stewardship of the environment God has given us,” said Dr. Chad Snyder, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Science at Grace College. “This can be done through recycling, but in a context they might not have known before: chemically modify food industry waste for alternative energy. Additionally, this project emphasizes peer collaboration as students must participate in certain synthetics duties to make this fuel formula work.”

According to Dr. Snyder, the biodiesel project highlights the relevance of chemistry and organic chemistry principles discussed in class. It also demonstrates how clean the biodiesel fuel formula is in comparison to other fuel sources. “Converting used vegetable oil into biodiesel is just one example of how chemistry makes a difference in helping our environment,” said Dr. Snyder.


Grace College Announces New BSN Program

May 2nd, 2017
2017 ADN graduates Seth King and Christina Crain practicing their nursing skills with instructor Chable Johnson (center).

2017 ADN graduates Seth King and Christina Crain practicing their nursing skills with instructor Chable Johnson (center).

Grace College will host a baccalaureate nursing program (BSN) beginning in fall, 2017, in partnership with Bethel College.  Since 2004, Grace and Bethel have partnered in nursing education through an associate degree program (ADN) on the Grace College campus.  The transition to a BSN program at Grace has been recently approved by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) to begin in August.

“We are thrilled to have a BSN at Grace starting next fall,” stated Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College.  “The current demand for well-trained nurses as well as student interest in a baccalaureate program have led to our decision to transition from an ADN to a BSN,” he continued.  “Bethel College has a reputation for high-quality nursing education.  We couldn’t have a better partner for our new BSN program.”

Dr. Deborah Gillum, dean of nursing at Bethel College, says a recent recommendation by the Institute of Medicine has significantly impacted nursing nationwide.  “The Institute of Medicine has recommended that we have a national registered nurse workforce that is 80% BSN-prepared by 2020.  This, combined with research that shows improved patient outcomes when care is provided by nurses with at least a BSN, have led to preferential hiring of BSN-trained nurses,” she said.  “We are happy to help meet the healthcare needs of Kosciusko County and beyond with the BSN program at Grace.”

A hallmark of Bethel’s BSN program is that students begin clinicals one year earlier than most nursing programs, thereby increasing student confidence and competence with their newly acquired skills.  Bethel’s nursing programs boast 100 percent job placement for all graduates, in addition to 100 percent employer program satisfaction. The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) pass rate for nursing associate degree graduates from the Grace College campus was 100 percent for the last two years.

The Bethel College School of Nursing was ranked seventh in the nation in Top RN Degree Programs for 2017. The list, compiled by Accredited Schools Online, ranked schools nationwide based on criteria including cost, graduation rates and student resources. With a score of 97.2 out of 100, Bethel is the only Indiana college to appear in the top 30 and the only Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) school to appear in the top 20.

The BSN at Grace College is among several new academic programs in development at the school.  Others include agribusiness, chemistry and mechanical engineering.  Grace College announced the comprehensive $37 million Aspire Campaign in March which includes a focus on educational excellence and a culture of innovation.  The Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex is currently under construction to house Grace’s growing science and mathematics programs and the newly renamed Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams.  For more information, visit


Aspire Campaign Aims to Raise $10 Million for Sustainable Affordability

May 2nd, 2017
Kittie Grill shares how God called her and three other women to pray weekly for Grace in the newly renovated Prayer Room at Grace College.

Kittie Grill shares how God called her and three other women to pray weekly for Grace in the newly renovated Prayer Room at Grace College.


Affordability has been a focus for Grace College & Seminary since launching the three-year degree program almost a decade ago.  Now close to 30% of Grace students graduate in three years and many stay a fourth to complete a master’s degree.  In 2015, the Measure of Grace initiative lowered tuition by 9%, provided additional tuition reduction of $500 each year a student returns to Grace, and made free textbooks available to all undergraduate students.

One of four priorities of the Aspire Campaign for Grace College & Seminary is Sustainable Affordability.  This fourth and final priority continues efforts to make Grace an affordable college option for all students. The Aspire Campaign seeks to raise $10 million to specifically support the McClain Heritage Society, endowments and the Grace Fund.

In the mid-1990s, four women began to pray in earnest for the future of Grace College & Seminary. Kittie Grill, mother of Grace Dean Dr. Steve Grill, gathered together Marjorie Foote and Laura Peugh, both mothers of Grace graduates, and Pearl Elliot, a Grace staff member. They prayed every week for seven years, covering everything from students to faculty members to fundraising needs. Dr. Ron Manahan, past president of Grace College & Seminary, says that every blessing the campus experienced in those years can be traced directly to their prayers.

Before her passing, Kittie Grill established a charitable trust in Grace’s name – making her a McClain Heritage Society member – and the funds from that trust went towards remodeling the Prayer Room located in McClain Hall.  At the age of 96, just months before her passing, Kittie was able to sit in the renovated Prayer Room and praise God for allowing her to be part of the work He wanted to accomplish through Grace College & Seminary.

The McClain Heritage Society and endowments are closely related. Endowments bolster the financial health of Grace, aiding students and employing the best and brightest Christian faculty. Members of the McClain Heritage Society include Grace in estate plans or set up a gift annuity or charitable trust. Grace is seeking 100 new members and $5 million in planned and estate gifts for this portion of Sustainable Affordability.

The second focus of Sustainable Affordability is growth of the Grace Fund. The Grace Fund fills the gap between tuition revenue and actual institution expenses. It helps keep tuition affordable for students. The Aspire Campaign has reached $3.02 million of the $5 million goal for this portion of Sustainable Affordability.

The total goal of $10 million for Sustainable Affordability will allow students and their families to focus on educational possibilities, rather than the price tag of quality Christian higher education.  Grace will continue to seek and apply unique affordability options to make a Christ-centered college experience available to as many families as possible and provide for the sustainability of Grace College & Seminary far into the future.

For more information and to give to the Aspire Campaign for Grace College & Seminary, visit or call 574-372-5100.

Grace College to Honor Graduates in Commencement Ceremony May 13

May 1st, 2017


Grace College & Seminary’s annual commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 13, at 9 a.m. in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, 610 Wooster Rd., Winona Lake. Commencement will honor 561 graduates, including some August and December graduates.

“We’re very proud of our students for reaching this important academic juncture,” said Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College & Seminary. “We are confident that they will leave Grace well-equipped to serve successfully wherever God takes them.  We hope this ceremony provides a sense of closure for their time here as well as great expectation for the future.”

Each year, Grace’s senior class elects a faculty member to deliver the commencement address. This year, Dr. Joe Graham, associate professor of behavioral sciences, was chosen.  “Dr. Graham is an exciting and innovative teacher who is well-loved by students and faculty colleagues alike,” said Dr. John Lillis, provost of Grace College.  “We are anticipating a unique and challenging message for our graduates this year.”

Jonah K. Pettet, representative of the undergraduate student body, will give the student greeting, while Nicholas A. Stanton, representing the seminary and graduate student body, will give the family recognition.

A special presentation will take place to honor Dr. James Custer, teaching pastor and senior pastor emeritus at Grace Polaris Church in Westerville, Ohio.  An alumnus of Grace College & Seminary, Custer has served for 17 years on the Grace College & Seminary board of trustees and has been named Trustee Emeritus.  Dr. Katip will recognize Dr. Custer’s 50 years of ministry and service during the commencement ceremony.

The commencement invocation will be given by Rev. Ricardo Murillo, pastor at University Heights Baptist Church in Whiteland, Ind., and Rev. Virgil W. Wesco, pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church in South Bend, Ind., will offer the benediction.  Martin Becker and Walter Brath will lead the musical selections, and Dr. Katip will confer the degrees.

“As we look back on the 2016-17 school year, we have much to be grateful for,” said Dr. Katip.  “In the fall, we celebrated another year of record student enrollment and began our new worship arts program.  Through the year, we announced several new partnerships with community businesses and like-minded schools.  The spring was perhaps most exciting of all with the announcement of our comprehensive Aspire Campaign and the groundbreaking of the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex.”

Next year promises to be equally exciting, he said.

“This summer we will prepare to welcome new agribusiness students, chemistry majors and start a BSN program.  Much is happening at Grace College and we are most grateful for our great students and alumni who inspire us to keep reaching higher,” Katip concluded.

For questions or more information about commencement, please call the Grace College Registrar’s Office at 574-372-5100, ext. 6414 or email