Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Grace golfers earn bid to NCCAA Nationals

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016
The Grace men's golf team.

Grace’s men’s golf team.

For the first time in nearly two decades, Grace’s men’s golf team is headed to the NCCAA National Championships.

The Lancers earned an at-large invitation to NCCAA Nationals, marking Grace’s first trip to the tournament in 17 years. Grace’s only other tournament appearances were a four-year run from 1996-99.

“I’m very excited about the direction that both of Grace’s golf programs are headed,” said Grace head coach Denny Hepler. “I’m happy for our boys to have this experience and for the opportunity to represent our fine institution at this prestigious event. This is a major milestone for our program.”

Grace’s women’s golf team will also be present in the tournament as freshman Anna Marshall qualified as an individual.

The NCCAA Nationals are held at Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla, from Oct. 24-26. The tournament is a three-round event with 18 holes played each day.

Championship action will begin with the first round on Monday, Oct. 24. The second round will be on Tuesday, Oct. 25, after which the top nine teams will advance to Wednesday’s final round following the 36-hole cut.

Grace is one of 12 schools represented in the national field, joining the likes of Oklahoma Baptist, Cedarville, Colorado Christian, Oakland City and others.

Center for Lakes and Streams to Host Interpretive Hike October 8

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

P1050423The Center for Lakes & Streams is hosting a free fall interpretive hike Saturday, October 8 beginning at the Lake City Greenway, through Heritage Trail. The hike will begin at 9 a.m. at the Greenway entrance. Participants should meet at the Heritage Trail parking lot at the end of Boys City Drive.

The hike will be led by Luke Hunt, a certified naturalist in Indiana and retired secondary science educator from the Whitko school district. Hunt was also an adjunct professor at Grace College. The hike is open to participants of all ages and fitness levels.

The Center for Lakes & Streams typically hosts interpretive hikes biannually, in the spring and fall.  Interpretive hikes are opportunities for community members to learn about species native to Indiana, identify local trees and plants, study birds, and learn how to protect our watershed. Hikers will learn how the stream functions as part of the forest ecosystem as they walk the trail along the stream. Other natural features and signs of the coming season along Heritage Trail will be noted on the hike.

Participants are encouraged to dress according to weather and trail conditions. In the case of inclement weather, cancellation to the event will be announced on the Center for Lakes & Streams Facebook page, the Interpretive Hike event page on Facebook, and via Twitter @CenterforLakes.

The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts applicable research, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with other organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner. For more information or to support their efforts, visit

Grace College & Seminary Presents Annual Alumni Awards

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

2016 Grace College & Seminary Alumni Award recipients (left to right): Jon Allan, Dr. Steve and Jennifer Hollar, Phyllis Marwah, Sandy and Dick Allen, and Jerry Abbitt.

Grace College & Seminary honored seven outstanding men and women with alumni awards at its annual Homecoming and Family Weekend Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.  Alumni awards are given to Grace graduates and honorary graduates who embody Grace’s mission to serve the world effectively and compassionately for the glory of God.

Phyllis Marwah, resident of Hong Kong, received the Alumni of the Year Award. The award is given to an alumnus who has enhanced the mission, reputation or morale of Grace College & Seminary and represents the school with professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication. After graduating in 1969, Marwah traveled to Hong Kong for a field study and saw firsthand the desperate conditions of pregnant young women abandoned by their families. In response, Marwah co-founded Mother’s Choice in 1987 to serve children who need permanent homes and single girls who face crisis pregnancies. Since 1987, her organization has helped over 51,000 single girls, cared for 3,600 babies and assisted in 1,400 successful adoptions. Not only that, Marwah’s work has inspired similar organizations in other countries including China, India and Cambodia. “Phyllis is the perfect archetype of Grace College,” says Cindy Sisson, vice president of enrollment management and marketing at Grace. “She has surrendered her life to God and He has done unimaginable things through her.”

Jon Allan, resident of New York City, received the Young Alumni of the Year Award. The award is given to a graduate who has made significant contributions to society and/or professional advancements in their career within ten years of their graduation. Allan graduated summa cum laude from Grace in 2012 with a bachelor’s in business administration and marketing.  He went on to earn his law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, graduating No. 1 in his class.  Allan became a corporate attorney at the New York offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP one year ago.  Kirkland & Ellis represents global clients in investment funds, restructuring and intellectual property matters, and is ranked a top-tier firm in the world according to Chambers & Partners.  Jon is married to Danielle and is the son of Dan and Holly Allan of Ashland, Ohio. “Jon felt called by God early on to impact leaders at the ‘big leagues’ level,” says Allan’s dad, Dan. “God used Grace to prepare Jon and place him just where He wanted him.”

Jerry Abbitt, resident of Phoenix, Ariz., received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, given to an alumnus who has exhibited Christian leadership and extraordinary service to the increased welfare of Grace College & Seminary.  Abbitt graduated from Grace in 1984 with degrees in business administration and history.  He went on to work in the Grace Development Department, where he contributed to foundational research and database management for fundraising and alumni relations efforts. In 1987, Abbitt moved to Phoenix to continue his career and now works as a RVP/investment advisor for Primerica/PFS Investments.  Abbitt currently serves as president of the Grace College Alumni Advisory Council and co-led the creation of the Alumni Endowed Scholarship.  “I am so thankful for Jerry’s commitment to use his gifts to serve Grace,” said Director of Alumni Engagement Denny Duncan.  “His passion for Grace and its mission is infectious, and he has been instrumental in our work.”

Dick and Sandy Allen, residents of Fort Wayne, received the Honorary Alumni of the Year Award. The award is given to non-alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to the mission of Grace and genuine interest in the cause of Christian higher education by and through Grace College.  Since moving to Warsaw in 1999 to manage two of their many Arby’s restaurants in northeast Indiana, the Allens have supported Grace through generous donations. “We’ve been so impressed by how the Grace leadership has stewarded our money for the benefit of the mission and in a forward-thinking, strategic way,” said Sandy Allen.  “We’ve tried to wisely manage what God has entrusted to us, and we see Grace doing the same thing.”  The Westminster renovation, construction of Indiana Hall, the Grace Fund and numerous student campaigns are beneficiaries of the Allens’ generosity.  The Allens personify the mission of Grace, says Dr. Katip.  “Character, competence and service are hallmarks of Dick and Sandy’s lives,” he remarked.  “They share a passion for young people and for excellence and affordability in higher education.”

Dr. Steve and Jennifer Hollar of Warsaw received the newly established Parent Distinguished Service Award. The award is given in recognition of parents of a Grace student who have exhibited extraordinary service to the increased welfare of Grace. The Hollars have served Grace in numerous ways since their daughter, Meredith, now a senior, arrived on campus. Jennifer was instrumental in launching the Parent Council in 2015 and currently serves as a member.  “Jennifer’s enthusiasm to communicate effectively with parents has served our campus significantly,” said Dean of Students Aaron Crabtree.  She also serves on the campaign cabinet and was recently elected to the Grace Board of Trustees for the 2016-19 term. Likewise, Steve is a prominent figure in the community. He is a dentist at Dental Health PC, served two years as president of the Indiana State Board of Dentistry and is a partner with Grace’s Applied Learning program.  Since 2011, Dr. Hollar has supervised Grace students seeking to get hands-on job experience.  “From the beginning of the program, Steve wanted to use his office to help our students clarify their passions and determine God’s calling in their lives,” said Randy Polston, director of applied learning at Grace College.

For more information about Grace College & Seminary, visit or call 574-372-5100.  To follow Grace alumni news, visit

Winona Lake Courts Dedicated to Dr. Mike Grill

Saturday, October 1st, 2016
Steve, Susan, Kittie, Josh, Amy, Ethan and Becky Grill next to the Dr. Mike Grill Memorial Courts plaque.

Steve, Susan, Kittie, Josh, Amy, Ethan and Becky Grill next to the Dr. Mike Grill Memorial Courts plaque.


K21 Health Foundation, Grace College and the Town of Winona Lake held a dedication event for the newly refurbished tennis and basketball courts at Winona Lake Limitless Park on Friday, Sept. 30.  The courts were dedicated to Dr. Mike Grill, former professor of psychology and tennis coach at Grace College.

Rich Haddad, president and CEO of K21 Health Foundation, Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College, Craig Allebach, Winona Lake town manager, and Becky Grill, widow of Mike Grill, spoke at Friday’s event.  Following their remarks, former Grace tennis players Leon Brenneman, Andy Lewis, Doug Gossman and Jon Metz played the first point on the refurbished courts.  Finally, a permanent plaque was unveiled by the tennis courts in honor of Grill and Dr. Kevin Roberts, professor of counseling at Grace College and K21 board member, offered a dedicatory prayer.

Rich Haddad was a Grace College tennis recruit the first year Mike coached the team.  “Mike and Becky were the most impactful adults in my life beside my parents,” said Haddad.  “I know I speak for many of Mike’s players when I say that he changed the trajectory of our lives.  While we can’t repay Mike for what he gave us, we can honor his life and legacy through this memorial.

The tennis and basketball courts were refurbished this summer with a new surface and fencing.  Lights will be added soon.

“Mike Grill’s impact on Grace College and the Winona Lake community was tremendous,” said Dr. Katip.  “He consistently put others before himself, serving and ministering to those around him.  He was passionate about living his life for Christ and investing in individuals’ lives.  Mike often did this through the game of tennis – coaching, mentoring and encouraging others in so many ways.  Each of us who knew Mike is better for it.  We are honored to pay tribute to Mike in this fitting way.”

Town Manager Craig Allebach recounted how Dr. Grill encouraged him to earn his master’s degree and teach law enforcement at Grace College – a class he still teaches today.  “Mike made a significant impact in my life, as he did for so many,” said Allebach.  “These courts are named after Mike as a reminder to us and generations to come of the significance one life can make in our town.  It’s my hope that many will use these courts to learn and play tennis, as well as connect with their neighbors and enhance our community.  I think Mike would be honored by that.”

Becky Grill described how meaningful the game of tennis was in her life with Mike.  “We spent hours upon hours playing tennis together in Winona Lake, and Mike played the game until the end of his life.  I will treasure thoughts and memories of Mike every time I see these courts.  I’m so thankful to everyone who came together to remember Mike in this special way,” she said.

Dr. Mike Grill taught for 40 years and coached for 25 years at Grace College.  He loved the sport of tennis and used the game to connect intentionally with others.  Prior to his death in 2013, Mike actively served the community in a variety of ways.  These included the Winona Lake Plan Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals and the K21 Health Foundation board of directors.  Mike was a devoted son to Kittie and Eddie Grill, husband to Becky, father to Josh, father-in-law to Amy, grandfather to Anna and Ethan, brother to Steve, brother-in-law to Susan and friend and mentor to many.

The Dr. Mike Grill Memorial Courts are now open seasonally for public use.

Tennis players shake hands after the first point on the Dr. Mike Grill Memorial Tennis Courts.

Tennis players shake hands after the first point on the Dr. Mike Grill Memorial Tennis Courts.

Former Grace College tennis players Doug Gossman, Andy Lewis, John Metz and Leon Brenneman at dedication.

Former Grace College tennis players Doug Gossman, Andy Lewis, John Metz and Leon Brenneman at dedication.


Grace College History Grad Takes Part in Major Archeological Discovery

Thursday, September 29th, 2016
Grace College graduate Phil Webb (BA 15)

Grace College graduate Phil Webb (BA 09)

Prior to this year, references to a medieval Christian community in ancient Kazakhstan were limited to a few historical documents and stories from travelers along Asia’s famed Silk Road. All that has changed, however, thanks to a team of archeologists that included Phil Webb, a graduate of Grace College’s history program who is now working on a PhD in Archeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). We now have hard evidence for those stories. Earlier this summer, the team began work at Ilyn Balik, the site of an ancient city not far from the Chinese border.

In addition to uncovering the city’s original location, the team found unique examples of pottery and other indications of settlement. The smoking gun, however, was the discovery of seven gravestones inscribed with Nestorian-style crosses dating to the 12th century. Webb and his team members pursued the dig after archaeologists from SWBTS heard reports from a local resident who discovered one of the curious stones back in 2014. A press release by the Tandy Institute for Archeology had this to say about the recent finds:

This discovery is the first archaeological evidence for a Christian community in the borders of the Republic of Kazakhstan. This discovery supports the understanding of ancient Kazakhstan as a multi-cultural center between the East and West, with Muslims, Buddhists and Christians living among the local herdsmen and nomadic tribes. (You can find the full press release here.)

Current and future students in Grace College’s history and archeology program have the opportunity to join future digs with the Tandy Institute for Archeology at SWBTS. For more information, contact the Grace College Office of Admissions or the Department of History and Political Science directly.


Pottery with distinctive artistic motifs. Photo courtesy of Phil Webb.


On location in Kazakhstan. Photo courtesy of Phil Webb.


Gravestone inscribed with cross. Photo from Tandy Institute for Archaeology press release by Tom Davis.

Grace Unveils 2016 Inductees for the Lancer Hall of Fame

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

The Grace College Athletic Department will induct four members into the Lancer Hall of Fame on Saturday morning: Tim Metcalf (baseball), Paul Zeltwanger (men’s basketball), Rusty Brown (track/men’s soccer) and Jerid Stoffel (track/cross country).

The 2016 induction class is Grace’s ninth class. The group will be honored at the annual Hall of Fame Breakfast on Saturday at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

“It’s exciting to honor Grace’s rich athletic history,” said athletic director Chad Briscoe. “This is an accomplished group of people who have added much to Grace Athletics. They deserve to be recognized for their contributions to our institution.”

Brown and Stoffel’s inductions coincide with Grace’s new Bernard and Linnie Key Track and Field Complex, which will be dedicated on Saturday afternoon.

Stoffel was an All-American runner at Grace from 2000-03. He won the NCCAA championship in an event three times, including twice in the outdoor 4×800-meter relay and once in the indoor distance medley relay. He graduated with four school records and was an NCCAA All-American in cross country during the 2002 season.

Brown was a two-sport star from 1979-83, playing soccer and competing in the throwing events on the track team. He was a two-time NCCAA All-American in track during the 1982 and 1983 seasons and also won two NCCAA championships in throwing events. His shot put mark of 49-feet-3 still stands as a Lancer record.

Metcalf is the Lancers’ career batting average leader. He hit .379 during his playing career from 1968-70. He hit .456 in 1969, which stands as a program record for a single season. He also laced nine triples, including five during the 1969 season.

Zeltwanger was one of the top point guards in the Lancers’ history, playing from 1984-88. He was the conference Player of the Year in 1988, the same season he led Grace to its only appearance in the NAIA Div. I championships. Zeltwanger graduated with a conference record of 29-5, setting a team record for a four-year player.

“We want to thank those individuals who have brought much distinction and honor to Grace College and have established a tradition of Christian excellence which is incomparable,” Briscoe continued. “These achievements have touched everyone associated with Grace College both in and out of the arena of athletics.”

Grace College Student Turns Injury into Entrepreneurial Success

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Photograph of CoolCorp founder Wesley Gensch with his current Grace College applied learning and internship students. Left to right are: Kyle Brunner, Chase Baker, Logan Swartzentruber, Austin Baker, Wesley Gensch, Jason Stevens, Logan Grigsby, John McCarty, Cole Helman and Peter Hoover.

Photograph of CoolCorp founder Wesley Gensch with his current Grace College applied learning and internship students. Left to right are: Kyle Brunner, Chase Baker, Logan Swartzentruber, Austin Baker, Wesley Gensch, Jason Stevens, Logan Grigsby, John McCarty, Cole Helman and Peter Hoover.

When Pierceton native Wesley Gensch began his applied learning experience as front desk manager at the Gordon Recreation Center, he never dreamed entrepreneurial success was just around the corner in his young life.  Gensch was a freshman at Grace College, working to complete the required 12 hours of applied learning (APL) credits necessary for all bachelor’s degrees at Grace.  That experience led to an internship as assistant director of stadium operations at the South Bend Cubs.  During his internship, Gensch sustained a serious elbow injury as varsity pitcher for the Grace College Lancers.  It was that injury that led to an invention and now a successful entrepreneurial business.

“My applied learning experience and internship made me realize that I wanted to use my God-given abilities to create a business to help people,” Gensch said.  “But I didn’t know what type of business it would be until my injury.”

When Gensch injured his elbow in 2015, rehabilitation included daily icing.  Frustrated by the messy and inconvenient process of traditional icing, Gensch developed a prototype of a new product: a gel-filled sleeve designed to fit around any limb or joint that uses air compression to provide full-surface coverage of quality cryotherapy.  After using his prototype, Gensch’s recovery significantly improved and quickened.

“I realized I might be onto something.  When my teammates and other athletes began to use it and had similar results, I knew this was my business to pursue,” Gensch said.

CoolCorp was born in 2015.  Since that time, Gensch has worked tirelessly to build his cryotherapy product business while completing his education at Grace.  Gensch earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in four yearsthrough Grace’s blended degree program.  He graduated in May with a bachelor of science in business administration and in sport management, and in August with a master’s in business administration.

Gensch’s entrepreneurial journey has brought him full circle back to the applied learning program at Grace College.  Today, nine Grace students work at CoolCorp for applied learning credit or internship experience.

“My positive experiences in applied learning and internship led me to want to give back to Grace students with similar aspirations and goals,” Gensch said. “It’s very rewarding to provide students an opportunity to be in the middle of launching a company with applications in accounting, marketing, corporate law and more.” APL positions at CoolCorp include website building and maintenance, logo design and promotion, financial investing, product design engineering and social media management.

“As of April, 2016, my cryotherapy business is a S-Corporation. My products and intellectual property are currently patent-pending,” he added.  Gensch will soon begin work with Integrity Custom Concepts in South Bend to prototype and beta test his products. He plans to launch the CoolCorp product line in January, 2017.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Wesley,” said Randy Polston, director of applied learning at Grace College.  “He is a great example of why we instituted the applied learning program at Grace.   When students apply what they’re learning in the classroom to real-world experiences, they discover so much more about who they are and what they want to become.”

Career preparation is a top priority at Grace; the Center for Career Connections at Grace College has developed partnerships with more than 200 Hoosier businesses and organizations from which students may choose to apply their classroom learning and explore their desired career path.  If your business is interested in offering applied learning or internship opportunities to Grace College students, please email or call 574-372-5100, ext. 6106.  For more information about CoolCorp, visit

More Than 700 Students Participate in Center for Lakes & Streams Annual Lake Adventure Day

Monday, September 26th, 2016
Lake Adventure Days

Fourth grade students from schools in Kosciusko County fish in Pike Lake as they learn about how to take care of local lakes and streams.

More than 700 students from 29 classrooms in Kosciusko County participated in the Center for Lakes & Streams’ annual Lake Adventure Days Thursday and Friday, September 22 and 23 at Lucerne Park and Winona Lake. The Center for Lakes & Streams partnered with local volunteers, local DNR officers, Grace College elementary education students, and the Grace College School of Education to make the event a success.

This year’s Lake Adventure Day event was organized by Caitlin Yoder, education coordinator for the Center for Lakes & Streams. Fourth graders from local elementary schools including Claypool, Harrison, Jefferson, Leesburg, Lincoln, Milford, North Webster, Syracuse, and Warsaw Christian were in attendance over the two-day event.

Lake Adventure Days were open to fourth grade classrooms in Kosciusko County and provided attending students with a day of lake fun and education. Throughout the day, fourth graders rotated through stations at which they performed water testing, built their own mini-watersheds, competed in a water conservation exercise, completed a water-themed craft, and even went fishing in Pike or Winona Lake. Keira, a fourth grade student who attended Lake Adventure Day explained, “I learned how to take care of lakes and not pollute them.”

While over 100 lakes are located in Kosciusko County, this was the first time many of the students who attended have interacted with a local lake. Charlotte Jessie, a teacher at North Webster Elementary School, said of the event, “It teaches them how valuable our lakes are—there are over 100 lakes in the county and it gives them hands-on experience.” Jessie expressed that Lake Adventure Days also prepare her students for when the Center for Lakes & Streams installs an aquarium in her classroom with native fish species as part of the Classroom Lake Experience program.

The Center for Lakes & Streams will continue to provide lake education opportunities throughout the 2016-2017 school year. The center has aquariums in 24 local classrooms with fish and plant species like those found in local lakes and streams as part of their Classroom Lake Experience program. Additionally, the center is now selling 2017 Calendars depicting winning pieces of the annual Lakes & Streams Art Contest. Order forms can be found online at

Sponsors of the 2016 Lake Adventure Day event include Bart’s Water Sports, the City of Warsaw, Culver Family Foundation, DePuy, The Dekko Foundation, Lake Tippecanoe Property Owners, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, The Papers, Warsaw Kiwanis, and Warsaw Optimist Club.



‘Walk Into My Future’ Introduces Elementary Students to College, Careers

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Grace College School of Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. Mark Norris, Grace College Computer Programmer Dan Pacheco, Grace students Madeline Pacheco and Sarah Chappell prepare to instruct students in the “Angry Bird” session about physics and math.


Grace College and the Kosciusko County YMCA partnered to plan and execute the Kosciusko County Promise’s “Walk Into My Future” event on Friday, Sept. 23. The day-long event, hosted by Grace College, educated approximately 2,700 kindergarten through second grade students from Kosciusko County on the benefits of saving for college, attending college, earning a degree and pursuing a career.

Dr. Laurie Owen, Dean of the School of Education at Grace College, coordinated the event.  “It was a great day on campus,” she said.  “More than 500 volunteers participated, including Grace College students, faculty and staff, YMCA and Ivy Tech staff.  They all did a terrific job shepherding young students around campus and educating them on the benefits of college.”

Kosciusko County Promise believes it is beneficial for children to begin thinking about their academic futures in kindergarten. The event focuses on age-appropriate introductions to college and career discovery. Throughout the day, children participated in five session rotations, took a short tour of Grace College, had lunch and attended a large-group program.

“It was an honor to host these young people and come alongside their amazing teachers to help students think about their future education and careers,” Owen concluded.

For more information about the Kosciusko County Promise, visit  For more information about Grace College, visit

Toastmasters International Demo Meeting to be Held at Grace College

Friday, September 23rd, 2016


Grace College will host a Toastmasters International demo meeting on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 5:30 p.m. in McClain Hall, 200 Seminary Dr., Winona Lake.  The meeting is free of charge and open to the public.

“We encourage people to check out Toastmasters at the demo meeting,” said Jean Wolfe, talent development specialist at Grace College.  “There is no obligation by attending; the meeting is designed to show prospective members what Toastmasters is like and answer questions.”

Following the demo meeting, Grace College will host regular Toastmasters meetings bi-monthly on campus.  “They serve as professional development opportunities for employees and as community outreach opportunities for students,” said Wolfe.  Individual annual dues are less than $120 per year.

At each Toastmasters meeting, members develop communication and leadership skills by giving speeches, assuming different club roles, and providing and receiving feedback.  Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. Toastmasters is the world leader in communication and leadership development, has more than 345,000 memberships and 15,900 clubs in 142 countries.

To reserve a seat at the Sept. 29 demo meeting, click here.  For questions about the Grace Toastmasters Club, contact Jean Wolfe at or 574-372-5100, ext. 6078.  To learn more about the Toastmasters, visit