February Travels

President Draves with an alumni couple in Arizona

One of the perks of being president is that I get to visit the Graceland family, and a trip to Arizona in February was a warm change from Iowa's ice. I went to the Arizona alumni gathering in Papago Park in Phoenix and then dropped in on the Community of Christ winter reunion. 

It's exciting to hear about how alumni are starting to build coffee clubs where they can casually gather and get to know one another. Graceland alumni and friends are always gracious and eager to hear about happenings going on back on "the Hill." There is a magical sense of comradery that happens to people at Graceland - maybe because it capsulizes a time in all our lives when we are forging our futures. Those four or five years when possibilities are wide open and we haven't quite solidified into our career mode. 

Graceland students combine chemistry and theatre, poetry and basketball, air band and accounting in a CrossFit of disciplines that allow for a broader understanding of life. When I visit alumni, no matter what age, I see the smiles come across their faces when they remember Graceland. 

Here are a few happenings going on right now to share:

  • Dr. Sharon Little-Stoetzel was appointed Dean of the School of Nursing.
  • Dr. Jolene Lynn was appointed Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.
  • Dr. Raquel Moreira is an Organization for Research on Women in Communication (ORWAC) Feminist Scholar of the Year and received her award last week in California.
  • Three wrestlers - Cartland Allen, Brandon Seward and Drew Sams - will represent Graceland at Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa, next month. 
  • Lexus Lovan (long jump) and William Snorgrass (triple jump) qualified to go to Nationals in Pittsburg, Kansas.
  • Graceland Theatre department presented Heathers the Musical last weekend to a sold-out crowd. The lead, Vanessa Vuckovic, was from the Phoenix area, and I was pleased to chat with her fans back home. It was exciting to see the wrestling team at the play to support their team member, Shea Swafford.
  • GSG officers were elected last week, with Tamela Hill voted as president.

Pat visits with alumni in Arizona