Graceland University Horizons
Graceland University Horizons: Winter 2018 - What do I Want to do When I Grow Up? ; female fingers holding photo of a little girl about 8 years old
President Pat Draves



This issue of Horizons celebrates the accomplishments of several young alumni who are making the world a better place.

Graceland encourages the development of values — learning, wholeness and community — for the enrichment of lives and the betterment of the world. 

Celebrating the accomplishments of these outstanding people makes me cherish the value of a Graceland education.

Higher education is not a factory line where all the products come out looking the same. Students are individuals with different backgrounds, goals, skills and learning styles. A one-size-fits-all program doesn’t produce the quality of recent alumni that you’ll read about here.

While we provide a common foundation of the essentials, Graceland would not be Graceland without the profound respect for the inherent value of each student as an individual. We provide the launching pad, but we must never try to program the destination. The alumni you will read about in this issue are unique, with different visions of themselves and the world they want to create. They are living the values of learning, wholeness and community for the enrichment of lives and the betterment of the world.

Welcome to a window into the world of Graceland, “the center of everywhere.” I hope you enjoy the stories of the alumni featured, and, if you want to meet upcoming graduates, come for a visit. We’ve got hundreds more just like them — but different.

Forward Thinking: Higdon Administration Building in the background with a pink magnolia bloom focused in the foreground

One of the challenges that Graceland has faced courageously and creatively is to identify what every student needs to be successful in today’s world, even amidst an array of personal and career goals. 

How to communicate effectively, analyze and evaluate information, use digital resources and relate effectively to the natural and cultural world around us — all students need these competencies for personal and professional development throughout life, whether they plan to be teachers, business executives, pediatric care nurses or sculptors. Together, the faculty and staff have accomplished exciting work to make all aspects of the Graceland experience — both in the classroom and through campus activities — a valuable learning experience that instills these essential lessons in every student.

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Graceland Graduates Make the World A Better Place (within navy and chartreuse circles)

Graceland's principles still ignite change in the world — in ways both big and small — by preparing graduates to live rewarding and meaningful lives.

Graceland is a place where students are able to explore ideas and forge their futures, and often discover something unique and remarkable: themselves. Read about alumni as they share their experiences and how Graceland became part of the answer to the question,

What do I want to do when I grow up?

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Making History - The Road to Nationals: Group photo of the 2017-18 men's basketball national championship team

On March 5, the Graceland men's basketball team made history in a packed Closson Center, claiming their first Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament crown with a 95-68 victory over Peru State College.  

On March 20, the Yellowjackets again made history when they claimed the national championship title by defeating Louisiana State University at the buzzer.

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Harry Ashenhurst

Working Toward Wholeness.

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Harry Ashenhurst

Working Toward Wholeness.

This is a celebration. Who wouldn’t be proud of the accomplishments of the Graceland graduates featured here? And what I find even more exciting is that this is only the beginning of what we predict for their future.

One of Graceland’s three core values is wholeness, but wholeness is a process not an outcome. Wholeness is what we aspire to. It’s not like making a loaf of bread, where you throw together the ingredients, bake them, and out comes a finished loaf...

Read More about Wholeness


Haley Johnson

Setting the Stage

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Double image of Haley Johnson

Setting the Stage

In January, theatre major Haley Johnson ’19 placed first out of participants from 315 teams from seven states at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region V Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Haley’s positive vibes paid off, and her first-place title will send her to the national festival in Washington, D.C., in April, where she will compete with seven other regional winners at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for a Irene Ryan Acting Fellowship...

Read More about Johnson


World Map

We are Graceland - In the Middle of Everywhere

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World Map with oversized Graceland University location pin

We are Graceland - In the Middle of Everywhere

Horizons recently used Facebook to learn the scope of the Graceland network. The participation was incredible, and we loved reading so many testimonies of how the Graceland values have spread.

Lamoni, Iowa, is just 250 miles from the actual center of the continental U.S. It’s not far off to say Graceland is literally in the middle of the country...

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Brad Carr

Remembering A Graceland Legend

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Brad Carr with his guitar

Remembering A Graceland Legend

Brad Carr ’91 first became a member of the Graceland University family in 1983 when he was hired as the Head Resident for Gunsolley Hall. He soon married Sharon McKiddie and eventually left Graceland and Lamoni for an opportunity in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1989, but the impact he made on Graceland — and that Graceland had on him — had already been set in motion, and Brad would return to touch thousands of lives...

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"The hive is alive. Yellowjacket success is widespread, as many of our athletes competed at the national level": headshots of 2 female and 4 male athletes.

Experiential Learning Social Media Marketing

Class Notes

Homecoming `17 Alumni Awards: Graceland Award of Recognition, Honorary Alumni Award, Distinguished Service Award.