Graceland Spotlights News

Universities across the nation recognize the need to help students go from graduation to their next steps: graduate school and entering their professions.

Spotlight: Katie Bash

October 11, 2017

...leads Graceland to a successful recommendation from the Higher Learning Commission. Working with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is one of Dr. Katie Bash’s fortes. Ten years ago, she successfully led Graceland’s HLC review and received a top endorsement: a recommendation for 10 more years of accreditation. Through painstaking detail, she has again led the university through the accreditation process, unearthing Graceland’s true and worthy attributes — resulting in another top endorsement.

Elizabeth Sweet ’14 loves her work and wants to make a difference in the world. She enjoys the extensive travel associated with her position as the Executive Assistant to the Co-Founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Founded in 1984, Starkey Hearing Foundation has expanded from its base in Minnesota across the U.S. and around the world. Helping economically disadvantaged people, Sweet is privileged to be part of the process of giving them the gift of hearing.

Carol Green, PhD, won the 2016 Nurse of the Year award based on the impact she has had on the lives of patients, colleagues and students.

Alumni Spotlight: Joyce Soule

September 28, 2017

Currently enrolled in Graceland University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with an anticipated graduation date in 2018, Joyce Soule ’09 has already experienced incredible success in the health care industry.

Faculty Spotlight: Tim Robbins

September 21, 2017

Assistant Professor of English Tim Robbins, PhD, is one of the newer faculty members in Graceland’s Humanities Division — a prolific writer with flare.

Faculty Spotlight: Jeff McElroy

September 11, 2017

Jeff McElroy, MBA, believes in his students, ultimately inspiring them to pursue a career that eventually leads them to entrepreneurship.

It is true that Steve Glazer, PhD, will make efforts to connect history to cats in just about every class he teaches.

A positive force of energy joined the Graceland faculty two years ago when Karen Gergely, MFA, was hired to teach art.

Mary Shawgo, PhD, is bringing skilled scientific practices to Graceland University undergraduate programs and students.

Teaching and learning are seamless in Tanya Coffelt, PhD, who is a living example of lifelong learning.

Ioseb “Soso” Gabelaia ’10 is originally from the Republic of Georgia. He was born in Sukhumi but raised in Batumi because of the dangers of war.

Coming to Graceland University was a last minute decision for Jalen Brown `17. He was offered a scholarship to play basketball for the university only a couple months before classes began. Brown says what really drove him to come to Graceland was the thought of being on his own, away from the big city lights of Chicago.

Phillip Rogers `01 graduated from Graceland University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and went on to become the Creative Arts Pastor for Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas and is active in commercial, television, film and live production.

Chad Elliott `96 comes from a long line of Graceland alumni: he is the fourth generation to graduate from the university. While attending Graceland, three of his grandparents worked on campus, which made being away at college really feel more like home. The fifth generation of family, Elliott’s son and niece, currently attend Graceland.

The decision to attend Graceland University was made for Jennifer Craig-Blakeley `02, a member of Community of Christ, when her older sister, Catharine Craig, made Graceland her college of choice a few years earlier. When Craig permanently moved to Iowa following her college graduation, Craig-Blakeley wanted to be closer to her.

Dwayne Melton ’11 has gone from good to great! Graceland’s supportive coaches, staff and faculty made all the difference in Dwayne’s life. He came back to campus a few weeks ago to say thanks…

When Joe Nicholson ’97 graduated from college, the market was tight. He chose to attend Graceland because of the Commercial Design major offered, proximity to home, small class sizes and soccer program.

Success: Julie Filbeck

May 16, 2017

Julie Filbeck `03 is thankful each day of her life for the experience she had at Graceland University. Upon completing all her prerequisite work through the Kansas City Community College system, Julie was ready to transfer to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. After an unsuccessful stint at a big university right out of high school, Filbeck was looking for a small learning environment where she felt connected when she found Graceland.

Grant Kouri ’06 has chosen a career of service and steps out courageously to act on his convictions. Graceland’s mission and values are lived out in Grant’s passion for global humanitarian work.

Amanda Deering Jones ’01 believes she made one of the best decisions of her life when she decided to become a theatre major at Graceland University. With an already developed interest in film, the Sarasota, Florida, native grew up in the Community of Christ and aware of Graceland. When it came time to choose a college, she knew she wanted to go somewhere with smaller classes and better access to faculty. A visit to Graceland offered a feeling of comfort and familiarity.

Showcased in galleries and private collections around the U.S., Patty Kochaver ’84 credits Graceland for her artistic beginnings. She has perfected her calling and has a studio at the Midwest Clay Guild, north of Chicago. Her unique ceramic work has evolved to an exquisite, recognizable style. Currently, she exhibits in an international juried show called Materials, Hard and Soft, in Denton, Texas. Represented by Blue Gallery in Kansas City, her website is pattykochaver.com.

James Thomas Jr. '09 has created a life he never thought possible. And now he's giving that same chance to high school football players who might otherwise believe they can't do the same.

Peoria, Illinois-born Tommy Ratkiewicz-Stierwalt ‘12 knew at a very young age he wanted to be involved in the arts in some capacity and began performing in the third grade. He was first involved with local theatre in 2007 when cast in the ensemble of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dream Coat at Quad City Music Guild in Moline, Illinois where he grew up.

Graceland University believes experiential learning is an important part of student success, and the Principal Voice of the Young Consumer (VOYC) Business Challenge provides Graceland social media marketing students with just that. Each spring for the past five years, students in the Social Media Marketing class at Graceland have had the opportunity to develop a real marketing plan for a Fortune 500 company.