Yellowjackets Taking Center Stage

FALL 2024 VOL. 39, NO. 2

Decoration Graphic

The Performing Arts

Dear Graceland Alumni and Friends,

I am honored to serve this esteemed university as its Interim President. I am so grateful for the faith of the Board of Trustees, and I look forward to working alongside them and the rest of the Graceland faculty and staff to further the University’s mission of creating learning communities where students of all types can develop their potential for meaningful and productive lives.

I came to Graceland in 2022 to serve as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty after a long career at Anderson University in Indiana. I have spent my career dedicated to higher education and academia because I believe in its ability to transform lives. I joined Graceland because the University is future-oriented and clearly taking steps to be successful in the rapidly changing higher education marketplace. Liberal arts schools across the United States are closing because of their failure to innovate, but I am here precisely because I saw the incredible work President Draves and this community were doing to position the institution for ongoing growth. I look forward to continuing to build on that momentum in years to come.

Speaking of building things…in my work as the VP for Academic Affairs, I was able to regularly work closely with faculty members and academic program leaders as they engaged in the difficult work of modifying and streamlining curricula for a better student experience, but more excitingly, when they proposed new exciting programs for approval. This issue is dedicated to a program that we are extremely excited to announce — Performing Arts.

Graceland’s Shaw Center is one of the most state-of-the-art performing arts facilities in the Midwest. And while support for the arts is waning in certain areas, the arts remain an extremely important part of our culture and what makes our country unique. Working with the talented performing arts faculty, a program was built that is distinctive, marketable, and academically efficient. While the full program curriculum will not be designed until the Fall of 2025, students can begin taking courses this year that will begin to count toward the new major.

Graceland has a long history of graduates with success in the arts, including many who are actively working in television, stage, and more. Read more about these talented Gracelanders here.

I am thrilled to be serving as Graceland’s president during this exciting time of growth at the institution. I look forward to continuing to meet you and work with you toward our shared mission of success in the future.

Joel Shrock, PhD
Interim President

Follow me:
Instagram @GracelandUPres

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