Fall 2017 Horizons: Presidential Inauguration of Patricia H. Draves, PhD


Dear Graceland Friends,

Sitting on the stage at the inauguration ceremony and facing a full Shaw Center auditorium was an exciting, challenging and humbling experience. Thank you for the support and encouragement you have extended to Jeff and me with your calls, visits and support of Graceland. I am especially grateful for the many alumni who came to share in the inauguration. I was quite moved and assure you I will do everything in my power to live up to the university’s strong traditions and core values, while meeting the needs of today’s students.

I want to extend a special thank you to the Alumni Board for the collegial and engaged support as I transitioned to the Graceland community. The alumni partnership with the administration, faculty and students helps make a great education possible for current and potential Graceland students.

Thank you again for being a special part of an inspiring inauguration
and energetic homecoming weekend. It was great to meet so many of you, and I look forward to seeing more of you next year!

As we look to the future, we will be guided by our strategic direction: 

Exceptional Academics, Experiences and Value through Growth
Power of Together Strategic Pathways: 1. Academics for the Future; 2. Holistic Student Experiences; 3. Strategic Enrollment and Retention Growth; 4. Financial Stability and Learning Environment; 5. Distinctive Value; 6. Collaborative and Innovative CommunityThis direction will be realized by growing our academic programs and student life experiences and measured growth in our student body, while improving our fiscal strength to ensure Graceland’s longterm impact on the world. In addition, we need to share the value of a Graceland education and the ways it prepares alumni for strong careers and rewarding lives. We will be calling on some of you to share your story and hearing about the ways you value your Graceland experience.

In 2017-19, we seek to make progress on our strategic direction, following six strategic pathways, which will reflect our priorities. 

To Get her

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.

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.

Read More +


Experiential Students

Experiential Learning

When a student learns through their involvements outside of the classroom, they receive a different and very valuable learning experience.

The next several pages spotlight a handful of current Graceland students who have seized opportunities available to them through experiential learning. Graceland recognizes these experiences as an important piece of students’ liberal arts education. Faculty, staff, alumni and friends all play an integral part in opening doors for experiential learning. Classes abroad, internships, job shadowing and mentoring are all learning components that make significant contributions to student success. 

The Power of Together

Homecoming 17
Images of Homecoming attendees

A rainy Saturday couldn’t put a cloud over all of Homecoming 2017.

The Memorial Student Center and the Floyd McDowell Commons accommodated a dedicated crowd as traditional outdoor events moved inside. “The Power of Together” was strong throughout the entire weekend, beginning Friday with the culmination of a week of events celebrating the inauguration of President Patricia H. Draves as the university’s 18th president. Alumni in attendance were able to enjoy a reception and meet the new president after the ceremony. 

Read More +


Remembering Graceland Legends

Dr. Velma Ruch, longtime faculty member and Graceland legend, passed away July 20, 2017. Born in Lamoni, Iowa, on Jan. 28, 1921, both of her parents were enrolled as Graceland students when she was born. She returned as a student herself in 1939 and graduated in 1941 with the Gold Seal for scholarship.

She completed her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Iowa in 1943, and at the invitation of Acting President A. R. Gilbert, Velma joined Graceland's English faculty in 1946. She completed her master's degree in 1947 at the University of Michigan and her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin (majoring in English and minoring in Scandinavian studies) in 1957.

Read More +

Nancy WallaceNancy Steinke ’74 Wallace passed away October 16, 2017. She came to Graceland College from Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1970. She has filled the hearts of many who have also come to “the Hill” with kindness, friendship and inspiration.

Wallace obtained her master’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa, which prepared her for a career in counseling and teaching. She worked for Graceland for over 30 years — as an academic advisor, career counselor, professor and as alumni director. Her dedication and service to the university was remarkable. After retiring from Graceland, Wallace continued to teach part time but also had time to enjoy antiques, furniture and gardening. 

Read More +


Double Trouble

The Draves doctors have a powerful impact on 
Graceland’s future.

Last summer, Dr. Jeff Draves was chosen to participate as a mentor for the Summer Leadership Institute offered for more than a decade by the Association of American Colleges & Universities Project Kaleidoscope (AAC&U PKAL). Since its founding in 1989, PKAL has been one of the leading advocates in the U.S. for transforming undergraduate STEM teaching and learning. It has, to date, empowered an extensive network of over 7,000 STEM (science, technology, engineering, 
math) faculty and administrators committed to the principles, practices and partnerships that advance cutting-edge, integrative STEM higher education for all students.

Read More +


Harry Ashenhurst

A New Covenant.

This past Graceland homecoming, we had the honor to experience the investiture of Dr. Patricia Draves as the new president. It was a ceremony of covenant, a declaration of our shared commitment to Graceland and to each other.

The worldwide Graceland family renewed our commitment to the mission and core values of Graceland University — to learning, wholeness and community, to a nonsectarian pursuit of truth as we best understand it, and to the creation of communities of joy, hope and peace.

Read More +


Double Trouble

For many at Graceland, sports are a very important part of the college experience.

This year, the football team found themselves in a difficult position; they didn’t have any kickers. The team needed help, so they put out feelers all over campus. As luck would have it, they found exactly what they needed on the JV men’s soccer team.

Read More +


Caleb Thomas

Caleb Thomas, a freshman wide receiver, is catching everyone's attention.

In the game against Baker, he had 27 receptions – the most in NAIA history and more than anyone ever in all divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Read More +


Women's Soccer Team

The women’s soccer team has marked their best season since 2013.

The Jackets have compiled a 13-4-1 overall, qualifying for the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament.

Read More +


Graceland Traditions

A Graceland Family Tradition.

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.

Read More +


Then and Now

Graceland Social Media Explodes

Class Notes

Annual Report 2017