Patricia H. Draves, PhD, was inaugurated as Graceland University’s 18th president Friday morning, Oct. 13, 2017. The event was the culmination of a week of inaugural celebrations and opened the annual homecoming festivities for members and friends of the Graceland community.
In attendance were members of the Graceland Board of Trustees; the Alumni Board; Graceland faculty, staff and students; the Lamoni community; homecoming visitors; representatives of the Community of Christ, Graceland’s sponsoring church; as well as delegates from 12 Iowa colleges and universities; the Iowa College Foundation; and SkillPath, a continuing education division of Graceland University. The Shaw Family Auditorium in Shaw Center on Graceland’s Lamoni campus was standing room only.
Honored by many, President Draves’ sister MaryBeth Holland O’Hearn, Esq, delivered a humorous yet impressive story of Draves’ journey to become Graceland’s 18th president, offering the ways her sister has created her own success. O’Hearn highlighted Draves’ life rules to work hard, have fun, show up early and enjoy curiosity and adventure.
“Pat’s values are eternal values: hardworking, preparation, balance, service, sharing, kindness, family, generosity and love,” said O’Hearn. “My sister — your president — does not just have these values, she lives them. She does them. She performs them. She practices them … every single day.”
Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Brian White, spoke of Graceland’s history to create an environment in which people come to be educated as a means to change the world, and offered President Draves an emotional welcome home.
“A wise person once mentioned to me that in the midst of all of this really important work we do, we might as well have some fun, and that person was you,” shared White as he turned to President Draves. He then welcomed her to “The Power of Together” with two breakdowns of the word together: the old English origin of the word, gather, with fellowship and community, and then a simpler version in his final statement, “the word together is just made up of three basic words — to, get, her — and we got you, and you got us, and we are incredibly fortunate.”
The service was emotional at times and often filled with laughter, a sentiment to the personality President Draves
has brought with her to her presidency, and this sentiment
is echoed by other Graceland leaders.
BEING TOGETHER: A FIRESIDE CHAT WITH STUDENTS AND THE PRESIDENT
With the mission to give students a chance to get to know President Patricia H. Draves in a little different way, the Graceland Student Government (GSG) officers hosted a fireside chat with the president during the inauguration and homecoming week events.
President Draves joined students in the MSC Main room Tuesday night for a lightly competitive game in which Brother and Sister Houses competed by guessing details about her. The game – a version of the Newlywed Game – uncovered for the students things like President Draves’ birth month (February), the names of her twin sons (Benjamin and William) and even her favorite color (blue). There were 20 questions in total, and Agape and Sariah houses ended the game in the lead.
After the game, President Draves offered a few words on her choice to come to Graceland. She echoed what many students offer as their own reasons, such as the sense of community and care Gracelanders show for each other. She solidified her commitment to the university, and that she knows this is where she is supposed to be. President Draves ended the evening of togetherness by chanting “Go Yellowjackets!”
LEARNING TOGETHER : FACULTY-LED ROUNDTABLE
Tuesday’s event was a group of 25 university staff, faculty and students gathered in Carol Hall to observe a roundtable of seven faculty and two students explore the meaning and lasting impacts of the Protestant Reformation and its 500th anniversary. They brought their expertise in art, European and American history, English literature, theology philosophy and critical analysis to the conversation.
The hour-long discussion offered participants a rich tour of this religious, cultural transformation which began with the nailing of Luther’s 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Regarding Luther’s action, one panelist noted that the Reformer didn’t set out start a revolution. But revolutions start when someone does something little and it lights the fuse.
The panel discussion participants included Anthony Chvala-Smith, PhD, Paul E. Morden Seminary Chair in Religion an dAssistant Professor of Theology and Scripture; Catherine Clifford, PhD, Assistant Professor of English: Douglas Foster, MPhil, Adjunct Professor of European History; Matt Frizzell, PhD, Dean of Community of Christ Seminary; Karen Gergely, MFA, Assistant Professor of Art; Dylan Pitt, Graceland senior, Campus Ministries “Afterglow” coordinator; Kristen Seemuth Whaley, PhD, Assistant Professor of Philosophy: and Randallynn Smith, Graceland sophomore, Council of House Chaplains President. For full review of Reverend Father Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, visit Uncommon Travel Germany.
RAISING OUR VOUCES TOGETHER: SPEECH, SONG AND SOUND
Continuing the inaugural events for the week, on Thursday, Oct. 12, alumni, students and faculty gathered in the acoustically-perfect Carol Hall to hear a combined performance titled Raising Our Voices Together: Speech, Sound and Sound. The celebration featured words and music in many forms.
To begin the event, everyone in attendance stood and sang Graceland’s alma mater hymn. Sheet music was provided at the entrance to Carol Hall: however, many alumni and students sing the song from memory.
Graceland’s combined choirs, conducted by Sara Blessing, Director of Choir/Vocal Activities, performed four songs: “Cry Out and Shout,” “Behold How Good,” “How Can I Keep from Singing” and “I’ll Fly Away.”
Spoken word pieces were interspersed throughout the event and performed by students from Graceland’s Black Student Union – Krista Berry ’20, Anthony Ginger ’19, Christopher Potter ’20 and Cole Wright ’21. The readings and poems evoked strong emotions and begged the audience to think about the world around them.
Graceland’s Marching Yellowjackets in their new uniforms performed the theme from “Game of Thrones.” “Chameleon” and “Graceland Forever.” The Marching Yellowjackets are conducted by Melinda Leoce, Visiting Instructor of Percussion and Athletic Bands.
SHARING THE GRACELAND JOURNEY TOGETHER
A program and reception were held at Graceland’s Independence campus
Oct. 9 at noon. The program in the Carmichael Auditorium featured a video presentation, “The Power of Together: Past, Present and Future.” along with a history of the Independence campus led by Interim Vice President for Independence Campus and Dean, School of Nursing, Claudia Horton, PhD, RN.
Warm welcoming remarks were presented from the C.H. Sandage School of Business, the Edmund J. Gleazer School of Education and the School of Nursing. President Draves gave an address titled, “Mapping the Graceland Journey Together,” and all sand the Graceland’s alma mater hymn. An elegant reception in the atrium catered by Ophelia’s restaurant on the Independence square ended the event with style.