Graceland Spotlights News

Heather Knowles `93 graduated from Graceland University with a Bachelor of Arts in English – Writing with a minor in Speech. During high school, she attended summer volleyball camps organized by Graceland women’s head coach, Stew McDole, in Rolla, Missouri. From those experiences she was enticed to visit campus, try out for Graceland’s team and learn all about the Graceland experience. Her initial campus visit was met with hellos, happy faces and a laid-back friendly vibe. She knew the university was the right fit.

At the end of the game, with just a few minutes left on the clock, Tara (Eskridge) Grubbs ʼ05 ran across the field to attend to the opposing team’s player who was down. When Christian Lerma collapsed, Grubbs instinctively thought it was a concussion, a common reaction from a hit during a soccer game, but the players surrounding him claimed he hadn’t been hit.

Kevin ’08 and Lora Toncheva ’07 Potter are a duo that makes Graceland proud. With successful careers, two young boys (and another one on the way) and their sights on improving the world, this couple is making a difference.

“I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher until I took my Advanced Placement (AP) history classes in high school.” Moriah Jones ʼ13 recognized the powerful impact teachers can have on students and decided her best approach in life would be to follow their example.

Jeremy Graybill ’98 revealed that he wasn’t really the best student when he came to Graceland. He had some areas that needed improvement and said he was thankful for the “patience and guidance” of Professor Emeritus Dr. Ron Smith, who taught several of his math classes. It was the Graceland community, the men’s volleyball team, the guys on the hall and his family who helped to form the leader that Graybill has become today.

Who is changing the world? Field Manager Chelsea Tobin ʼ11 and activist in the Denver area, shares her story.

While she was at Graceland Andrea “Andi” Barber ’06 Chatburn discovered that her understanding of death and dying was different than most. In Bob Mesle’s class Suffering and Meaning, discussions around death revealed her difference. As a girl, Chatburn lost six great-grandparents within a few years. She experienced the care and love given to her great-grandparents, and, because of the inclusion in these intimate beautiful deaths, she understood death as a natural part of life.

It is a common process for students to be unclear on the path they wish to follow at the time they begin their college career, and that was definitely the case for Alex Cash ʼ12. Cash, who graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, began his Graceland experience as a music education major.

Clay Hines ʼ09 work can put people to sleep – don’t worry, it’s a part of his job. Hines is an anesthesiologist in Texas. He graduated from Graceland in 2009 with a double major in biology and chemistry, and recalls the hard work he put into achieving his accomplishments.

Health communications graduate Brittany St. Louis ʼ11 is the operations manager for a health care facility in Colorado, where she runs the daily operations of the practice. She knew she always wanted to work in management in a health care setting and her bachelor’s degree from Graceland University helped set her on the right course to reach her dream.

Graceland grad Aaron Richards ʼ11 lives in Orange, California, with his wife, Leigh Richards `12, their one-and-a-half-year-old son, Owen, and long-haired miniature dachshund, Rudy. For Richards, there was never another option considered outside of Graceland University for his college experience. He knew from the time he was a child that Graceland was the place for him.

Christine Trewhitt ’14 is no stranger to the impact a nurse can have on one person — patient or otherwise. Trewhitt has known the value of nursing since she was young; ever since she watched nurses in her home attend to her mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. She found that the presence of a nurse was a positive influence on both her and her mother. “I kind of correlated the two — a nurse in the house and my mom feeling better,” she recalls. Trewhitt has taken this lesson with her throughout her life and into the career she has today.

Graceland University theatre major Haley Johnson `19 has been active in theatre since her high school sophomore year when she discovered her passion for acting.

Graceland University Associate Professor of Business Administration Jeff McElroy participated in a “Shark Tank”-style event for mobile app development Saturday, Feb. 3, in Kansas City. The event, sponsored by mobile app developer PocketCake, was organized by Graceland graduate Terra Whipple ’08, founder and business strategist at Live By Change Consulting.

Graceland is doubly fortunate to "get her" and "him" too. The Draves doctors have a powerful impact on Graceland’s future.

Joe Sprunger ’18 is a publication, writing and design major. In anticipation of his senior year, Joe took advantage of the summer to combine two of his passions, photography and soccer.

Brandy Bachtel ’18 always knew she wanted to go into the health care field, but she didn’t know exactly where she wanted to focus. After high school, tragedy hit. She lost her dad and made the decision to spend a year with her mom, helping her through the transition.

Business Administration and Agricultural Business major Omar Navarro `20 completed his first internship over the summer with Sierra Gold Nurseries in Yuba City, California, just 15 minutes from his home town of Nicolaus. The nursery has been providing top-quality fruit and nut trees to orchardists throughout the western United States since 1951.

Stephanie Herman ’18 was part of the Graceland University group that traveled to Dunfield House in England for May Term 2017. Graceland has a tradition of providing life-changing opportunities to experience intercultural learning, one of the high impact practices the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has determined to help bring about student success.

Zacary Stetzel ’18 from Panora, Iowa, came to Graceland for a college visit during homecoming. Kinzey Nicklaus ’19 from Griswold, Iowa, is good friends with Camryn Kuehl ’19, and Cameron told Kinzey about the KCPD internship possibility.

Bardha Maloku ’18 is a senior in Khiyah House, majoring in computer science and technology with minors in business administration and mathematics. She is a smart, determined woman who wants to help other women reach their goals — to slap the stereotypes that keep them out of the computer science field and claim the success that comes from the world of technology.

Graceland University has been a tradition in many families. Generations and siblings have shared in the Graceland experience – sometimes at the same time. Since its early history, Graceland has also been host to international students from all over the world. The Maloku family brings these two traditions together.

Yellowjacket Update

December 20, 2017

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Two Athletes Play Two Different Fall Sports By: Tabi Miller `17 For many at Graceland, sports are a very important part of the college experience. This yea...

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.