Archive for the ‘Feature Stories’ Category

Grace College Launches Engineering Program

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Grace College will launch an engineering program this fall.

Seated next door to the “Orthopedic Capital of the World,” Grace College has developed an undergraduate engineering program to launch in fall, 2018. Grace’s Engineering Department will offer a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science in Design Engineering Technology. All three degrees have received approval from the Higher Learning Commission.

Kosciusko County, Ind. is a prime location to train future engineers. “With the concentration of orthopedic and manufacturing companies in our county and state, engineering college graduates are much sought-after,” said Dr. John Lillis, provost of Grace College. “We’re eager to better meet the needs of our region with a robust engineering department, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have it led by Fred Wentorf.”

Dr. Fred Wentorf will serve as Grace College Department of Engineering Chair and assistant professor of engineering. He comes to Grace from Zimmer Biomet where he has worked since 2007, most recently as principal engineer. Wentorf holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota. In addition to extensive industry experience, Wentorf has authored more than 30 articles in scientific journals and six books chapters. He also holds three biomedical patents.

Wentorf will lead the new department starting immediately. Grace previously partnered with Trine University to offer a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. While the partnership was successful for many years, growing demand for engineers and increased interest from current and prospective students led Grace to pursue its own engineering program for 2018.

Engineering students collaborate in the classroom.

Dr. Wentorf is passionate about mentoring the next generation of engineers “from a Christian perspective, with practical application.” He is currently working to develop an advisory board and finalize the new engineering curriculum. “It’s extremely important to me that our advisory board – comprised mostly of industry leaders – will help guide our program now and long into the future to ensure that the education we provide is relevant and sought-after by employers,” he said.

The Grace Department of Engineering will provide a variety of internship and co-operative experiences as part of each bachelor degree program. Wentorf is also exploring partnerships with local school districts to provide another avenue of learning and application for college students while giving back to the community and “hopefully inspiring a younger group of aspiring engineers.”

The new engineering program was created as part of Grace’s strategic plan for Educational Excellence. “Academic distinction and real-world preparation are hallmarks of a Grace College education,” said Lillis. “These are the standards prospective students and parents can expect from our new engineering program,” he concluded.

Grace College is now accepting applications in the Department of Engineering for fall, 2018. For more information, or to apply, visit or call 800-544-7223.

Grace Athletics Set to Unveil New Logo

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

This summer, Grace’s athletic department is excited to reveal a new Lancer logo. While Grace will still be known as the “Lancers” and the colors will remain the same, the logo will be receiving a facelift with a more modern visual identity.

Additionally, the iconic Kessler Court at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center will have a new paint job after the basketball season to coincide with the new logo.

On Feb. 17, Grace will set up a unique fan experience for the final regular season game on the existing hardwood court. After Grace’s doubleheader with Taylor that afternoon, fans and families will be allowed to take posed photographs with professional lighting on the Lancer logo.

No cost will be associated with the fan event, and photos will be made available for download online.

Additionally, Grace is making available for sale the sideline varsity chairs used by the teams at the MOCC. These one-of-a-kind collector’s items are available for $50 by contacting Grace’s athletic office while supplies last. Less than 35 chairs remain for sale, so make sure to get your piece of Lancer history before it’s gone.

A few chairs will also be raffled off on Feb. 3 and Feb. 17 at the MOCC during Grace’s home games. Chairs purchased will be available for pickup from the MOCC no earlier than March 19.

Contact Kelly Sharp in Grace’s athletic office to reserve your exclusive sideline chair at (574) 372-5100 ext 6266.

Grace College Career Fair Offers Connections for Businesses, Organizations

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Grace College students interact with a business representative at a past Career Connections Fair.

Grace College’s sixth annual Career Connections Fair will be held on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, 610 Wooster Rd., Winona Lake. The fair is open to all for-profit and non-profit companies who wish to connect with students for internships, applied learning opportunities and jobs. Lunch will be provided for all participants.

Grace College Director of Applied Learning Randy Polston coordinates the fair each year. “It’s a great opportunity for businesses to meet Grace students who could add value to their company or organization in the form of an unpaid applied learning experience, a semester or summer internship, or a job,” he said. According to Polston, Grace students come to the career fair ready to make life-changing connections. “Our students are eager to meet with companies and pursue work opportunities that could start their careers,” he said. But the career fair is not only good for students, Polston explained. “The best compliment I’ve received from participating businesses is that after hiring Grace students, they now look for Grace grads to hire. When you hear a business owner say that, it’s a win,” said Polston.

Registration for the Grace College Career Connections Fair is now open here. For-profit business registration is $50; non-profit registration is $40. For questions or additional information, please contact Randy Polston at 574-372-5100, ext. 6416, or

React Week Honors MLK Legacy

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” was delivered on April 3, 1968. King was assassinated the next day. It has been nearly 50 years since that day, but King’s legacy continues, his words inspiring many and his life serving as an example. At Grace College, Asia Weimer, director of the Council for Diversity and Inclusion, and Kearstin Criswell, director of Student Involvement, wanted to create an opportunity for students to process and apply King’s life and example for more than a single day, which led them to create React Week in 2017.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, Jr. addresses the annual luncheon to commemorate Dr. King at Grace College.

This year, the second-annual React Week took place Jan. 15-19. It began with the annual event and luncheon hosted by the Committee to Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. (CCMLK) on Monday, Jan. 15. Curtis T. Hill, Jr., Indiana’s first male African-American Attorney General, called for unity and understanding in America as he addressed the campus and community in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center. Hill explained that it is important to understand how the other side thinks on an issue and identify how past problems developed. He was optimistic about the future, saying “each and every day, we make a step to improve the plight of race relations and the plight of the justice system in America.” During a question-and-answer session after his speech, Hill was asked how this community could move forward, despite the issues that are still unresolved. He said that people must continue the effort, despite frustration, as well as finding facts for themselves, rather than accepting only the story of one side or another.

Students gathered on Jan. 15 to participate in the first SERVE event of React Week.

Immediately following the CCMLK event, students had an opportunity to respond with the first
of two React Week SERVE events. SERVE is a student club which provides ministry opportunities for Grace students. At the first React Week SERVE event, students delivered Papa John’s pizzas to area medical facilities as well as pillows and hand-decorated pillowcases to the Beaman Home, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. They also left encouraging notes and bottles of windshield wiper fluid next to cars at the Kosciusko Community Hospital. On campus, students wrote notes and created care packages for faculty members.

The final event on Monday was Q Union, an event that pairs three student speakers with three nationally broadcast talks from Q, an organization that seeks to help Christians restore cultures as well as individuals. The national Q speakers were David Brooks, an author and conservative cultural commentator for “The New York Times,” Kara Powell, director of the Fuller Youth Institute and faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and “Propaganda,” a nationally recognized speaker, activist, poet and musician. The student speakers were freshman communication major Kierstyn Worthem, senior accounting and entrepreneurial management major Branden Haun, and sophomore communication and theater major Elizabeth Mattia.

The speakers focused on practical ways to live with purpose, be more inclusive, and consider others before oneself. Worthem encouraged students to consider how implicit biases can affect our decisions, while “Propaganda” encouraged students to think about how their identities overlap with others, understanding that we are not the only ones who have pain in our pasts and that unity is not the same as uniformity. Mattia highlighted the need to embrace our circumstances, as their purpose will not always be clear, but God is working in all of them. Haun focused on our need to live in balance, and anticipate the shifts in our lives to return to balance.

The first event on Tuesday was a Brave Space focused on the life of Dr. King. Asia Weimer led the event, selecting passages from Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail. Weimer chose passages that included a call to action to pursue justice without waiting for an indeterminate time in the future. King’s words were resolute and reflective of his mission at a time when he was struggling with doubt and opposition. Weimer said “there is a danger in remembering Dr. King for who we think he was.” The letter’s powerful and direct message provides a less-known perspective of Dr. King.

National speaker, artist, activist, and author “Propaganda” addresses Grace College chapel on Jan. 17.

On Wednesday morning, our first of three React Week Chapels featured “Propaganda.” He challenged our campus to consider the voices that they may be quick to neglect or overlook. It takes humility to listen to those we may disagree with, he said. Students left with the desire to gain perspective, rather than divide over differences.

Later on Wednesday, Dr. Brent Krammes, assistant professor of English at Grace, led a poetry workshop centered on Dr. King’s writings. The event started with a reading of poems written about Dr. King – one by Gwendolyn Brooks written soon after he was assassinated, and one written later by June Jordan. Then, students interacted directly with King’s writing. According to Krammes, King’s “rhetoric, imagery and diction are so powerful, and very steeped in biblical references and language.” Krammes led students in writing found poems from Dr. King’s speeches. Found poems take words and phrases from another work and either cut or rearrange them to create a new poem. Krammes hopes students were able to apply this experience to their own lives and current issues in our culture.

Grace student Adam Lithgow decorates a pillowcase for the Beaman Home.

Students participated in a second SERVE event on Wednesday night, distributing more pillows and pillowcases for the Beaman Home, creating care packages for faculty, and participating in random acts of kindness around campus that included cleaning sneakers and microwaves, and starting loads of laundry.

Director of Student Involvement Kearstin Criswell spoke in Chapel on Thursday. She challenged students to consider the power of their words, reminding us that we are accountable for every single word we say. Therefore, we must always be aware of the words we use and how we use them. “Our words can bring life or cause death, and as believers we must speak words that show others the love of Jesus,” Criswell said.

React Week concluded on Friday. Our last Chapel of the week featured speaker and author Cokiesha Bailey Robinson. She spoke from the book of Philippians and challenged us to “press on” in our faith and in our lives. She recounted the biblical truth that to live is Christ and to die is gain. In the midst of adversity, when doing the right thing is tough, when life is difficult and making the right choice isn’t very popular, we must press on, she said.

Throughout React Week, students served others, engaged on controversial ideas with discussion and reflection, and were equipped to bring about positive social change. These ideals reflect the core tenants of Dr. Martin Luthor King, Jr.’s life and mission, which are still shaping and impacting our world positively today, nearly 50 years after his assassination.

Grace Students Celebrate Talent, Style in Senior Thesis Show

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Warsaw native Christina Baughman with her work at the Senior Thesis Show now on display in Mount Memorial Art Gallery

Business. Photography. Illustration. Therapy. Marketing and travel blogs. The avenues of expression for seniors in the Grace College Department of Visual, Performing and Media Arts are as varied as the students themselves. Each tells their story through their work, which will be showcased now through Feb. 3 in the Mount Memorial Art Gallery, 808 Kings Highway, Winona Lake. The gallery is open to the public from 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 – 4 p.m. on Saturday. The community is also invited to the opening reception on Friday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.

The first Senior Thesis Show of 2018 will display the work of students Christina Baughman, Carley Brechner, Megan Gunkel, Kelsey Kirkendall, Lauren Rekeweg, Anastasia Suderman, Michelle Sweers, and Caleb Yoder.

Christina Baughman, a Warsaw native, creates harmony between business and art to make a marketing impact. “I see marketing as a two-sided coin with a business side and an art side; without one it is impossible to have a strong and complete marketing program,” Baughman explains. “I achieve both artistic influence and business relationships by using business and art to strengthen one another through marketing.”

Carley Brechner is an illustration major from Fishers, Indiana, who dreams of creating children’s books. She uses her experiences of growing up in New Zealand and Thailand as a missionary’s kid to weave other cultures and biblical messages into her work. Brechner explains, “Through my artwork, I strive to show people they are valuable and there is beauty in the world.”

Megan Gunkel, of Juneau, Alaska, is an aspiring art therapist whose work focuses on art as a way to achieve good mental health. Gunkel explains, “My show reflects my passion for embracing the connection between art and psychology.”

Kelsey Kirkendall uses art as a storytelling medium. Whether she is working on the brand of a local business or the art for a children’s book, the Lima, Ohio, native wants to understand the story of her subject, their history and experiences. Kirkendall explains, “My work often focuses on people because every person is a story written by their past, their background, and their lived experiences.”

Every aspect of a company communicates a message, and for Lauren Rekeweg, that message is the core of the relationship with customers. Her focus on detail and message made her collaboration with Thunder Lakes, an indoor range and outdoor equipment retailer, into a project that demonstrates the power of a strong brand. Rekeweg is from Auburn, Indiana.

A Goshen native, Anastasia Suderman created Waves & Caves because she needed a travel blog with practical information, and she hopes the information and imagery will be both helpful and inspirational for others. She designed postcards as a way to capture memories in a tangible form. “The material token of a postcard is something that can be looked back on to conjure up the memorable moments and shared experiences that happened in that location,” said Suderman.

Michelle Sweers is captivated by the details. “I adore the pretty colors in pebbles and tiny grains of sand,” Sweers explained. Her portfolio is a celebration of the details that God put into his creation for humans to wonder at and appreciate. Sweers is from Union, Michigan.

As a photographer, Wakarusa native Caleb Yoder enjoys capturing a variety of subjects and locations, from portraits to landscapes. For his senior project, he used both to display and celebrate people and the natural world. His portraits take advantage of light and capture interesting visual elements, while his landscapes usually feature people as a way to develop scale. “I enjoy these two types of photography the most because they allow me to capture the beauty in people and in nature,” explains Yoder.

For more information about upcoming art exhibits and the Department of Visual, Performing and Media Arts at Grace College, visit here or call 574.372.5100 ext. 6024.

Megan Gunkel

Anastasia Suderman

Michelle Sweers

Well-Known Speakers to Visit Grace This Semester

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Grace College is pleased to welcome several notable speakers to its campus during the spring semester. Chapel guests will include “Propaganda,” Keith Minier, John Lynch and Tamika Catchings. Chapels are free and open the public. They take place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 10:30 – 11:20 a.m. in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

“Chapel is a place where we gather as one community to worship and integrate our faith and learning, said Brent Mencarelli, dean of chapel and community life at Grace. “We want our students and the community to learn how to bring their faith into every area of their lives whether they are studying scripture, pursuing a career, or even enjoying times of rest. Jesus never leaves us and we desire to see our students live in light of that truth.”

A variety of leading voices will speak at Grace Chapel this semester. The list includes authors, musicians, athletes and activists. “By hearing from leaders of several different fields and causes, we hope to deepen students’ understanding of God’s work in the world and how they fit into that work,” Mencarelli said.
Propaganda will speak at Grace College on Jan. 17. Propaganda is an artist, activist, academic, father, and husband. He has released music with the Tunnel Rats and the Footsoldiers, three solo albums, five LPs, and a book of poetry. His art combines pop culture knowledge and aesthetics with messages that challenge his listeners to think and feel in new ways.

Cokiesha Bailey Robinson will speak at Grace on Jan. 19. Robinson is a speaker and author who has a passion for encouraging people. She served as a missionary in Africa, Jamaica, and Turkey. She has contributed to the books “Farther In and Deeper Down,” “The Inheritance,” “This is My Story,” and “Planting Trust, Knowing Peace,” and she currently writes for several devotional sites.

Keith Minier will speak at Grace on Jan. 25 and 26. He is the lead pastor at Grace Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio, and an avid basketball fan and blogger. Minier’s blog address is

Nicole Bromely will speak at Grace on Feb. 2. Bromely is an author, speaker, and founder of OneVOICE, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping global child sex trafficking. Her books include “Hush: Moving from Silence to Healing after Childhood Sexual Abuse” and “Breathe: Finding Freedom to Thrive in Relationships after Childhood Sexual Abuse.” She received the 2016 Role Model Magazine Top 25 Influential Women Award and the 2011 Marietta College’s Outstanding Young Alumna Award.

John Lynch will speak at Grace from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9. He is a contributing author for “The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You?” as well as more than 10 other books. He is also the pastor of Open Door Fellowship Church in Phoenix, Ariz.

Tamika Catchings will speak at Grace on Feb. 14. Catchings played in the WNBA for thirteen years on the Indiana Fever, and she holds the record for most all-start appearances and most consecutive playoff appearances. She now owns a tea shop, Tea’s Me Café, in Indianapolis, and is director of player programs and franchise development for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

A full schedule for Grace’s Spring Chapels can be found at

Tim Tebow to Speak at Grace College

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Tim Tebow will speak at Grace College on Feb. 16.

Heisman Trophy winner and inspirational speaker Tim Tebow will visit Grace College on Friday, Feb. 16.  Tebow will speak at 10:30 a.m. on his career and faith journey during Chapel at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, 610 Wooster Rd., Winona Lake. The event is free and open to the public while tickets last.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tim to campus and provide our students and community the opportunity to hear from a champion of our faith who has built a very successful career and honored God through it,” said Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College.

Tim Tebow is a two-time national champion, first-round NFL draft pick, and Heisman trophy winner. He played three years in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and New England Patriots. Tebow is now an outfielder for the New York Mets Organization as he endeavors to succeed at the highest level in two professional sports. Tebow is a college football analyst for the SEC Network and a contributor for ESPN. His 2011 book “Through My Eyes” was named the #1 sports book of the year and best-selling religion book of 2011. In 2016, Tebow released “Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms.”

In partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which will host Tim Tebow on Feb. 15 for its Night of Hope at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Grace College invited Tebow to speak on campus during its annual Career Week. Throughout the week, the Grace College Center for Career Connections (CCC) provides resources and perspectives for students to help guide the trajectory of their education.

“The Center for Career Connections is committed to helping students prepare for successful careers after college,” said Denise Terry, director of the CCC. “Part of preparation is inspiration – and it doesn’t get much better than Tim Tebow!”

An estimated 250 area high school students with disabilities will be in the audience to hear Tebow. These students will be on campus for Transition Exploration Day, an annual event hosted by the Grace College Student Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), to explore local post-secondary options available to them.

“We couldn’t ask for a more edifying speaker for this event than Tim Tebow,” said Dr. Cheryl Bremer, sponsor of CEC and associate professor of education at Grace College. The Tim Tebow Foundation is dedicated to making dreams come true for children with special needs including those with disabilities, life-threatening illnesses and those needing a permanent home. The Foundation sponsors Night to Shine, a worldwide prom for people with special needs, which will take place in Warsaw on Feb. 9.

Tim Tebow’s visit to Grace College is sponsored by Lippert Components. Generous donations were also made by Wildman Business Group and Dr. Michael Lyons.

Tickets are now available at the Grace College Campus Store, located in the Gordon Recreation Center, 100 Publishers Dr., Winona Lake. Campus Store hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 noon – 4 p.m. While tickets are free, they are required for entrance.  A limit of six tickets per person will be distributed while they last. For group ticket distribution or for more information, call 574-372-5100, ext. 6106.

Attorney General Curtis Hill to be Featured at 30th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Community Event

Monday, January 8th, 2018

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, Jr.


The Committee to Commemorate Martin Luther King (CCMLK) will host the 30th annual community luncheon and program on Monday, January 15, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center at Grace College. Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend the event at no cost.  The first 300 attendees will receive a complimentary lunch.

This year’s program will feature Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, Jr.  Hill is the first African American male elected attorney general in the State of Indiana. With a total of 1,643,689 votes, Hoosiers made him the top vote-getter of any elected official in state history.  Originally from Elkhart, Ind., Hill is former Elkhart County prosecutor and a graduate of Indiana University. Mr. Hill will speak on how his life and career have been impacted by the teachings of Dr. King and how Dr. King’s influence still effects leadership in our state today.

“We are honored that AG Hill has decided to spend his MLK Day in Warsaw,” stated John Bryan Lowe, III, president of the CCMLK. “We strive to bring dynamic, relevant speakers to our community to honor Dr. King. We know that AG Hill will offer a unique perspective that will be inspirational to many in attendance.”

2018 CCMLK board members (front L to R): Alyssa Lowe, Kathy Madden and Gennie Brissette-Tipton, (back L to R) John Bryan Lowe, David Hoffert, Rachael Hoffert and Diane “Kookie” Jones.

In addition to Dr. Hill’s address, the Warsaw Community Schools choir will perform and the winner of the 2018 CCMLK scholarship will be announced.  The annual scholarship is awarded to a Kosciusko County high school student who demonstrates extraordinary citizenship, exemplifies the principles taught by Dr. King and intends to pursue a college degree.

CCMLK event doors will open at 11 a.m. For those unable to attend the event in person, a live stream will be available at

Grace College & Seminary Announces New Seminary Program: ‘Deploy’

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Grace Theological Seminary is now accepting applications for Deploy – the first competency-based seminary program in the country accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and granted five-year experimental status by the Association of Theological Schools. The new, modern seminary program at Grace uses a competency-based theological education (CBTE) model delivered online and onsite within a ministry context at local churches.

“Deploy is the result of several years of research and planning to create a relevant seminary model that is attractive and attainable to those in ministry who desire more training as well as those who wish to start a career in professional ministry,” said Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College & Theological Seminary. “We call it ‘seminary at the speed of life’ – Deploy was purposefully designed to minimize disruption to current ministry, work, and family priorities. And equally important, it was made to optimize spiritual formation in the lives of participants,” Katip said.

Deploy includes two graduate-level seminary degree programs: Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Local Church Ministry. The Master of Divinity program is comprised of 18 competencies centered on discipleship, theology and preaching. The Master of Arts in Local Church Ministry is made up of 15 competencies focused on communication, leadership and compassion. A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for both programs.

Dr. Jeff Gill, vice president and dean of Grace Theological Seminary, was pivotal in the creation of Deploy. “We began by asking pastors what competencies were most important to effective church ministry. Their answers challenged our thinking and eventually led to a change in our methods, which we now call Deploy,” he said. “Through research and development, we became convinced that the most effective ministry training does not take place in a classroom, but rather in the place where it all happens – the local church.”

Deploy combines an online platform and modules with contextual training and practical mentoring onsite local churches. Students are provided three mentors to aid them throughout the program: an academic mentor to guide the students’ academic learning and related competencies, a formation mentor to monitor spiritual and personal progress, and a ministry mentor to aid in ministry skills development. Students also receive a free Logos digital library account replete with academic and pastoral resources which they retain upon graduation to continue using in their ministry.

While a traditional seminary degree generally takes four to six years to complete, a Deploy degree can be completed much faster. Students work at their own pace to master each required competency. When mastery is demonstrated via an online assessment, a student moves onto the next competency immediately. Students with professional and ministry experience may accelerate their progress and complete a Master of Local Church Ministry in as little as two and one-half years or a Master of Divinity in four and one-half years.

Those interested in applying to Deploy can do so here. For more information on Deploy and for inquiries about becoming a local church partner, call 574-372-5100, ext. 6432 or visit

Grace Professor Rachael Hoffert Earns Ed.D.

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Grace College Associate Professor of Education Dr. Rachael Hoffert, recent graduate of Concordia University’s Doctorate of Education program.

Rachael Hoffert, associate professor of education at Grace College & Seminary, earned a doctorate of education (Ed.D.) from Concordia University on Dec. 16. She was also chosen to deliver the graduate student commencement address on behalf of all graduate students. After three and one-half years of study, Rachael became the second “doctor” in her home, joining husband Dr. David Hoffert, superintendent of Warsaw Community Schools.

Dr. Laurie Owen, dean of the Grace College School of Education, expressed her excitement about Hoffert’s accomplishment: “I am so happy for Rachael and proud of the incredibly hard work she has invested in this degree. Rachael has been an asset to our teacher preparation program for many years with her expertise in literacy development and instructional strategies. Now her deepened knowledge of best practices, leadership principles and the most current research will serve our students and program very well into the future.”

Hoffert chose Concordia University in Portland, Ore., for its online program and combination of transformational and servant leadership principles. “I wanted to grow my leadership capacity while integrating faith with learning,” Hoffert said.

Her doctoral learning experience did not disappoint. For many years, Hoffert’s philosophy of educating has been “a foundational mission opportunity, even if that means reaching just one child at a time.” Rachael views teaching as a calling and a way to impact future generations. Through her doctoral experience, “I began to understand how transformational leadership integrates a high degree of academic knowledge along with a ‘higher good’ of service,” she said.

Hoffert’s passions led her to study middle school English language learners for her dissertation. “The research process taught me how, even in our great country with an education system dedicated to reaching all students, there are still so many underserved in our backyards,” Hoffert said. She is hopeful that her research might impact a future generation of students.

Owen commented, “The relationships Rachael built through her research and the knowledge she gained about educator attitudes toward English language learners will serve Grace College School of Education candidates well for years to come.”

To view Dr. Hoffert’s commencement address, click here.  To learn more about the Grace College School of Education, visit here.