Graceland University Horizons Alumni Magazine. Summer 2018 Issue

Graceland University Horizons: Summer 2018



Photo of President Pat Draves

We applaud many things at Graceland, but the crowning achievement is learning. Scholarship is the most important task of the university, and academic accomplishment is what we celebrate at commencement.

This spring was my first Graceland Commencement on the Lamoni campus. I sat on the stage and looked out on graduating seniors sitting in orderly rows. Behind them were a couple more rows of Graceland faculty members who had mentored them in the classroom and on campus. Back further still were families and friends to celebrate this milestone with the graduates.

Of course, as I looked at faces I had come to know well, I couldn’t help but wonder what their futures will be. Graceland has produced outstanding achievers in so many fields: the Pulitzer Prize, the Olympics, Congress, diplomats, cancer research, health care, law, education…Our commencement speakers this year — one of whom is an alumnus — helped their organization win the Nobel Peace Prize.

So, who among the class of 2018 will capture headlines in their lifetime? It’s too soon to tell. They will take many different roads as they pursue their passions. Some may lead to fame and fortune; others may provide more private satisfactions of family and friendship. It is both a thrilling and unsettling fact of teaching that you never know if what you’re saying may have a profound life-changing impact, even when you wondered if they were listening at all.

A philosopher tells us that the goal in life is not to try to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with an appreciation of their extraordinary significance. And so, we send our graduates out to do ordinary things with confidence that, with their Graceland experience, they will in their own creative ways make the world a better place. We hope they will keep in touch and let us know how their Graceland DNA continues to shine through in ordinary, extraordinarily significant ways.

121st Commencement

Commencement provides an opportunity to give recognition for outstanding accomplishments in the Graceland community. 

Graceland’s December Commencement was held Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Missouri. Dr. Stassi Cramm offered the commencement address. Cramm is on the Graceland Board of Trustees and is the presiding bishop and member of the First Presidency for Community of Christ.

The Lamoni graduation ceremonies began Saturday, April 28 with the baccalaureate service. Board of Trustees member Laurie Heinz ’85 offered an inspiring message: "Through giving of yourself to others, you lose your own burdens. Together, you (graduates) have a significant 
voice that can change our world."

Read More about Commencement

Graceland's Guatemala Connection

Over the past two years, members of the Graceland community have teamed up with the Kansas City Chiefs to raise funds to build a middle school in the village of Palo Blanco, Guatemala, and another in La Majada, Guatemala. 

As part of their efforts to help, students from the Graceland School of Nursing, Community Development Club and Enactus worked each of the Kansas City Chiefs’ home games offering wheel chair assistance.

This year, students worked a total of 10 home games along with a concert and have raised over $21,000. People for Guatemala, a nonprofit U.S.-based organization that raises money for Guatemala, helped the Graceland groups find a donor who matched what was raised for a total of over $40,000."

Read More about Guatemala

Faculty Focus

It’s no secret that Graceland faculty are a focused bunch.

Their achievements are piling up, and the faculty bulletin boasts entries weekly. Graceland professors are not only excellent teachers, their scholarship is admirable. They’re keeping up with the cutting edge of their disciplines and bettering themselves to provide Graceland students with the opportunities and knowledge they need to succeed.

These spotlights showcase the quality of commitment Graceland’s faculty have to their scholarship and to their students, and the understanding they have of the ways in which the two intersect.

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Did you know?

What makes Graceland Great?

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Photo of Harry Ashenhurst

Critical Thinking Skills & Learning: It's Real!

Read More about Critical Skills

Photo of Dr. Jill Rhea

Graceland Welcomes Dr. Jill Rhea

Read More about Dr. Rhea


Enactus: We All Win

Read More about Enactus


Did You Know?

What makes Graceland great?

After asking students, alumni, faculty and staff what they would choose as their Graceland top 10, we pooled their answers to bring you this list of inspiring attributes that make Graceland the place we are all proud to call home.




Read More about GU


Dr. Jill Rhea

Graceland Welcomes Dr. Jill Rhea

Dr. Jill Rhea was hired as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty effective July 1 following a national search assisted by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB). She comes to Graceland with experience in both traditional liberal arts undergraduate education and in overseeing online, adult on-site and graduate programs.


Read More about Dr. Rhea


Harry Ashenhurst

Critical Thinking Skills & Learning: It's Real!

Learning to learn — the essential survival skill in a world changing at record speed. At Graceland, it's real.

When I unpacked my suitcase as a Graceland freshman in the fall of 1966, I assumed I was there to acquire a body of knowledge that I could efficiently apply daily in my personal and professional life for the rest of my life. That year, I came to realize I was there to learn how to learn. 

Read More about Critical Skills



Graceland's Enactus Keeps on Winning Awards

Graceland Enactus has completed the 2017-18 school year with the recognition that their efforts rank them among the top 16 teams across the entire country. We know…you’ve heard this before. But how many of us actually know what it means?




Read More about Enactus