Thursday, September 15, 2011

Adam Shepard speaks at Waldorf, inspires students

Students at Waldorf College learned an important lesson Wednesday evening: you can achieve anything if you have the courage and determination to pursue it.

Adam Shepard reads out an excerpt
from his book, Scratch Beginnings
Students were inspired after intently listening to Adam Shepard, the author of Scratch Beginnings, who spoke about his experiences of moving to a new city and starting a life in a homeless shelter with just $25 in his pocket. The book spans across the time Shepard spent in Charleston, SC. and successfully achieved his goal: to have a furnished apartment, a car, and $2,500 in savings within a year.

The book is a rebuttal to Nickel and Dimed, written by Barbara Ehrenreich, with the aim to prove that the American dream is not dead.

On Wednesday evening, Shepard engaged the students by talking about different situations he encountered while living in Charleston, which included winning a date on a radio contest.

His book is being read by all freshmen attending Waldorf.

“Such common reading books can engage students in discussions, as some people love it, and some people don’t,” said Shepard.

He wants students to think and get involved in discussions about the book. He also wants people to be inspired to chase their American dream.

For Shepard, the American dream is “the ability to wake up and work hard to pursue my passion,” he said.  “Times are tough, but you can still go after it.”

Sophomore Kelsey Munson was deeply inspired by Shepard’s determination and his will to go after his dream. “It made me realize you can do anything if you put your mind to it,” said the elementary special education major.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waldorf College to stage its season-opening play during homecoming

The spotlight will shine on Waldorf College’s Smith Theatre this fall as Lost Socks,the first production of the year, opens September 21.

Written and directed by Dr. Bob AuFrance, associate professor of theatre and director of fine arts administration, Lost Socks is a romantic comedy set in a typical Iowa laundromat. The story is about a Friday night dating service in the laundromat, which is started by its owner for single people to meet prospective partners.

“I wanted to start the season with a comedy,” said AuFrance, who received several requests from Waldorf alumni to direct a play during homecoming weekend.

The inception of the idea for the play happened in a laundromat itself. “I was sitting in a laundromat one day and thought, ‘this would make for a good setting,’” said Dr. AuFrance. “People spend a lot of time together doing laundry. What if this was the place you go to meet single people?”

The play features an all-student cast, with seven characters ranging from a new freshman to a graduate assistant. The female lead character will be played by freshman Haley Mosley. “We are very excited to have a freshman in the lead,” said Dr. AuFrance.

During the showing, representatives of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival will adjudicate the play and the cast. If selected, the play will enter in a national playwright competition and the cast, which can receive up to two nominations, will compete for the Irene Ryan award at the regional level in Ames and be directly entered into the national competition.

“This is a play about the silliness and laughter of trying to find someone else,” said Dr. AuFrance. “I look forward to people coming and having a good time.”

Lost Socks will be performed during Waldorf’s homecoming celebration, between September 21 and 24. The tickets are priced $10 for adults and $8 for students. No one under the age of 9 will be admitted.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Top 2010 freshmen honored at Waldorf College opening convocation


Four freshmen from 2010-2011 were honored for academic excellence at the Waldorf College opening convocation held Friday, August 26.

This is the sixth year that Waldorf’s top freshmen have been singled out for public honors. The ceremony offers the opportunity for incoming freshmen to envision their own possibilities.

“These are outstanding students, ” said Dr. Scott Searcy, the new interim vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college, “and their excellence isn’t limited to their GPAs.” The honored students have all become integral members of the Waldorf community through participation in performance ensembles, athletics, and service projects.  “This is someone incoming freshmen should be like and emulate, at least adopt their best habits,” said Dr. Searcy.

The students being honored are communications major Amy Greshowak from Andover, MN., history education and theatre arts major Chelsey Shreeve from Cottrellville, MI., elementary education major Emily Clausen from Forest City, IA., and business major Antoine Cummins from Brooklyn, NY.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Forest City’s new Rotary Club president promises engaging meetings, fun activities

Meet Nancy Olson, the new president of the Forest City Rotary Club, whose main aim as the leader is to have fun.

“When I joined Rotary, I was pleased to see that the club enjoyed having a good time together.  One of my top priorities as Rotary president is to continue the tradition of having interesting, purposeful and fun Rotary meetings.” said Olson who is also the director of institutional relations for the Waldorf Lutheran College Foundation. “I want fellow Rotarians to be eager to attend meetings and make it a priority in their schedules.”

Sworn in early July, Olson has prepared to be the president since she joined the club in 2007, and has been in various leadership roles since then. She started as the program director-elect, became the program director and recently was the vice president-elect.

In March this year, she attended a conference for presidents-elect of Rotary Clubs from throughout the state of Iowa and heard interesting stories about previous presidents who made their meetings engaging for the members. Inspired by the conference, Olson started prepping for her new role immediately. Since the beginning of July, she has already introduced and implemented several new ideas for the club that will make the experience more exciting for the members.

Walk into Olson’s office and a three-foot-tall trophy sits on her credenza.  The trophy’s been named the “Class Act Award” which stands for Community Leaders Acting with Selfless Service—All Collaborating Together.  Each week, one Rotarian will have an opportunity to place a single item on the trophy that symbolizes one way in which he or she has performed a service or impacted another life in the community. Olson was the first one to initiate the new tradition by placing the ace of diamonds (a playing card) that signified her association with a card club that has performed countless acts of service together.

“By the end of the year, there will be 53 items on the trophy,” said Olson, pointing out the number of members in the club. “I put a card, somebody else might add a garden seed, a pack of coffee or tea, or a golf tee.  The possibilities are endless, and it will be fun to see what new items are added.” she said.
Olson’s idea behind the trophy was to bring out the creativity in every Rotarian and also give each member the opportunity to choose the next week’s recipient. The reason for receiving the award could be almost anything.

A resident of Forest City for 34 years, Olson wants other Forest City residents to learn more about Rotary.  She has created “elevator speech” cards that list Rotary International facts on one side and the purpose of the local club on the other. Next on her agenda is starting an award program that recognizes a member’s years of service as a Rotarian. “Currently we recognize a member’s attendance for which they get a certificate. In addition to that, it would be really meaningful to give out awards for the different years of service.  One of our members has been a Rotarian for 51 years and several others for over 35 years.  Now that deserves recognition!” she said.

In the months to come, the new president also plans to update the current club handbook, ask members to learn the four-way test, and brainstorm new fundraising ideas. At present, the club is working toward collecting items such as clothing, hygiene items, pens, pencils, notebooks, games and toys to put in at least 40 shoeboxes that will be sent to Nicaragua in Central America.

“My hope and prayer is that as we Rotarians perform selfless acts of service, lives will be transformed in the process,” said Olson. “Imagine the impact we can make as we provide clean water to people in third world countries, help eradicate polio in the entire world or supply food to the local food bank.”
The group meets at noon every Tuesday in the beautifully restored ballroom in historic Salveson Hall on the Waldorf campus and enjoys a wonderful lunch catered by Brian Keely, the director of campus dining at Waldorf.

If you are interested in joining the Rotary Club, please contact Nancy Olson at (641) 585-8147 or

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waldorf College biology professor to serve as associate editor of Journal of Herpetology

Waldorf College biology professor Dr. Paul Bartelt has been invited to join the Journal of Herpetology as an associate editor. The journal publishes papers and shorter communication articles about the biology of amphibians and reptiles.

“I’m honored by the invitation, and I welcome the opportunity to serve,” said Dr. Bartelt.  “One nice thing about being an associate editor with the journal is that you get to read the literature before anyone else does.”

Dr. Erin Muths, co-editor at the publication, approached Dr. Bartelt during the national herpetology meetings in Minneapolis early last month. He was chosen for the position based on his publication and reviewing record, as well as his breadth of research and herpetological knowledge.

The position involves handling all aspects of manuscript review for 10 to 15 submissions per year. Dr. Bartelt, who has reviewed many publications in the past, will be responsible for determining and contacting appropriate reviewers, ensuring timely turnaround and corresponding with the authors.

Dr. Bartelt is looking forward to reading a collection of manuscripts, which he says, will add to his pool of knowledge. “As we pursue our own research questions and seek new knowledge, we get to read how others have addressed similar questions,” he said. “It makes one a larger, more integrated part of the whole conversation.”

He is particularly excited about this new assignment as it involves peer review, which is an integral part of research. “Only a small fraction of papers are accepted for publication, most are rejected. That is because of their peer review process,” said Dr. Bartelt. “If you cannot convince someone else, the paper is not going to get published.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New coverage August 8-15

Here's the news coverage Waldorf College received in the last two weeks.

Co-workers say center's namesake deserves the recognition
Forest City Summit - Aug 17, 2011 | 5:19 am
ARTICLE: Denny Jerome is a legend at Waldorf, and it is well deserved, according to some of the people who have worked with him over the years.

Waldorf makes improvements to Denny Jerome Center
Forest City Summit - Aug 17, 2011 | 5:21 am |
ARTICLE: FOREST CITY - Waldorf College athletes will have some fancy new digs this sports season, as the new Denny Jerome Center nears construction completion.

Pastor joins Immanuel, Waldorf partnership
Forest City Summit - Aug 17, 2011 | 4:51 am
ARTICLE: FOREST CITY - The Rev. Greg Anderson is working with a model in Forest City and he has the chance to fashion that model to make a difference.

Waldorf's Gassman takes new job; Flickinger named head coach
Forest City Summit - Aug 16, 2011 | 4:47 pm
ARTICLE: FOREST CITY — Ryan Flickinger has been promoted to head baseball coach at Waldorf after Chad Gassman accepted the head coaching job at the University of Pikeville (Kentucky).

Beefing Up Campus Security
KIMT – August 15, 4:31 p.m.
FOREST CITY, IA - The weather is cooling down and that means if your student hasn't already started school they soon will, and one area college is making sure their students will be a little safer when they return.

Waldorf College installs surveillance cameras
Mason City Globe Gazette - Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011 11:46 am
FOREST CITY - A new security camera system has been installed throughout the Waldorf College campus to further protect students and property, Waldorf officials announced this week.

KIOW radio channel ran the news in their morning radio on August 15, 2011. 

Warrior football team ready to take next step
Forest City Summit - Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 9:17 pm 
FOREST CITY - Waldorf football coach Greg Youngblood knows the mountain is steep. Just don't expect him to concede just because times have been tough lately.

Alsop, Searcy begin transition to new roles at Waldorf College
Forest City Summit Aug 10, 2011
FORESTCITY - New administration leads Waldorf College this school year, as the college establishes a framework focused on being "not transitional leadership".

Waldorf to launch drum line
Mason City Globe Gazette | Posted: Saturday, August 6, 2011 12:07 pm
FOREST CITY - Waldorf College is getting ready for its first-ever percussion ensemble: the Warrior Line drum line, which will start this fall.
Posted: Sun, Aug 7, 2011 12:44 PM
Waldorf College is gearing up for its first ever percussion ensemble this fall--the Warrior Line drum line.  Decorah native Chris Ward has been hired to lead the program.

KIOW radio channel ran the Chris Ward starting a drumline on Waldorf campus story on August 8, 2011 as well.

A Brand New Band
Western Michigan University’s blog, Western Express - August 9, 2011
Waldorf College is a small liberal arts college in Iowa. Just like WMU, it was founded in 1903, but one of the bigger differences is that Waldorf doesn’t have a marching band—that’s all about to change because of a Western alum.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waldorf College’s Office of Student Life welcomes three new staff members

The Waldorf College’s Student Life team is ready for fall, as three energetic multi-taskers take on new roles

Brett Geelan is the new area coordinator for Breen Hall, and will also manage intramural sports, student recreation and transportation. Mary Dickman, who was previously with admissions, will now split her time equally between student life and admissions. Her student life half will be area coordinator for Ormseth and Rasmusson Halls and she is also in charge of campus vending. Sera Ranaivoson area coordinator for Tanner, Timberland, and Theme Houses, will also work with campus ministry and the mail center.

 “All of these positions are replacing somebody else,” said Jason Ramaker, dean of students at Waldorf College. “It is always good to get fresh new ideas, and having people in the department who can identify with students’ needs.”

Dickman graduated in 2010 from Waldorf College, and Ranaivoson in 2011. Geelan recently graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA.

In his position, Geelan will focus on sports leagues, one-time events, and outdoor recreation such as canoeing, wall climbing, softball, tennis, dodge ball and volleyball.
Most of these activities, Ramaker said, are a great way for students to get out of their dorms and meet new people. Geelan will play a major role in introducing students to new activities and avenues of having fun.

Ranaivoson was a resident assistant and an active member of campus ministry during her time as a student, experience highly relevant to her new position. As a student, Ranaivoson was part of the praise and worship group and Exit-to–Hope, a ministry-based group. “Sera knows Waldorf really well, and understands our residential life program. That made her qualified for those two areas,” said Ramaker.

Meanwhile, Dickman will be in-charge of two residential halls and also help with international students in getting their status back. “Mary was an RA for two years at least and did a nice job. We are happy to have her,” said Ramaker.

The new staff members are enthusiastic about their positions and looking forward to the new school year.I’m very excited to be at Waldorf College,” said Geelan, “and I’m looking forward to interacting with students. It will be very enjoyable work.”

Dickman agrees. “I’m excited for the new opportunity to serve the students at Waldorf. I definitely enjoyed my time with residential and student life as a student and I’m glad to do it as a staff member too.”

And Ranaivoson notes some added benefits: “As a student right out of college, I won’t have to worry about meals and housing. I like my position because it incorporates all the things I was involved with as a student.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waldorf College biology professor presents at UI Carver College of Medicine’s FUTURE program

Dr. Gary Coombs and senior Cody Barnes at the FUTURE program's
poster presentation
After spending two months at UI Carver College of Medicine, Waldorf College biology professor Dr. Gary Coombs, and senior Cody Barnes gave their final presentations last week as part of the FUTURE program.

Dr. Coombs was one of the six faculty fellows selected for the program from colleges throughout Iowa. Upon his selection, he discussed the project with his students and chose Barnes to accompany him.  

The FUTURE program, which stands for Fostering Undergraduate Talent – Uniting Research and Education, started May 31 and ended this Friday, July 29. Barnes was one of the 174 poster presenters last week. Dr. Coombs spoke about his research on Friday, July 29.

Barnes, of class 2012, majoring in wellness, studied expression of NIAM (Nuclear Interactor of ARF and MDM2) in tumor biopsies from patients with glioma (a type of brain tumor), and helped identify mice with a nonfunctional NIAM gene for studies of NIAM’s role in health and disease. Dr. Coombs, in a separate research project, used mass spectrometry to identify other proteins that interact with NIAM.

Barnes has his future mapped out with plans to pursue a career as a physician’s assistant. While at University of Iowa, he was able to meet the admissions director one-on-one and was encouraged to apply for the physician’s assistant graduate program.

“I think this is a kind of experience you can’t get while studying in a classroom through textbooks,” said Dr. Coombs. “Cody gave the program high marks and would recommend it to others.”

For the biology professor, this fellowship provided funding and equipment to pursue research beyond what he can do at Waldorf College. “It also gave me opportunities to learn more about grants availability,” he said. “I think, there is a likelihood that we may get a publication or two out of this visit, which will reflect positively on Waldorf.”

Now in its third year, the FUTURE program aims to bridge the gap between large research universities in the Iowa area and small liberal arts colleges. This increased interaction helps boost the number of undergraduate students that choose research, medical or graduate school.

During the summer program, visiting faculty from smaller schools served on the panel and answered questions from participants. Admissions officials from the physician assistant program, graduate schools, MD and PhD programs also spoke about what they look for in applicants.

“They bring us here and give us the opportunity to do research. There are weekly seminars and activities,” said Dr. Coombs, who has been working with UI pharmacology faculty member Dawn Quelle. “The hope is to take the information when we are mentoring and counseling at Waldorf to guide students who want to pursue graduate level experiences,” he said.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Waldorf College welcomes new director of choral activities

Waldorf College’s choir will get a boost this fall as Dr. Adam Luebke, the new director of choral activities, joins the music department.

“I am looking forward to working with the students. When I came for my interview I really enjoyed connecting with them,” said Luebke who will also serve as an assistant professor of music. “I think it is a wonderful tradition to be part of.”

Originally from Pennsylvania, Luebke is interested in continuing the rich a cappella tradition at Waldorf. (Waldorf College has the second oldest collegiate a cappella choir in the nation.) He would also like to add music of major composers, other cultures and some contemporary music.

Before coming to Waldorf, Luebke taught music and directed choirs at Northland College in Wisconsin. He recently completed his doctorate in music education and choral conducting from Florida State University. Dr. Luebke earned his master’s degree from Westminster Choir College in New Jersey and a bachelor’s from St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

He also spent a few years in Lexington, Kentucky, where he taught high school choral music and worked as a church musician.

One of the reasons Luebke was attracted to Waldorf is because its choir is modeled after St. Olaf College’s choir. “Waldorf is similar to St. Olaf’s Lutheran foundation. It is a small college with a strong music department,” he said.

Luebke will enrich Waldorf’s music department with 20 years of experience in choral activities. He first started singing with the American Boychoir with which he toured the Czech Republic, Poland and across North America.  He also traveled throughout North America and Europe with the St. Olaf Choir, singing at cathedrals, concert halls and churches of all kinds.

Despite of a history with big cities, Luebke and his wife Sarah, both are looking forward to life in Forest City.

“I love being able to walk to work,” he said. “It’s bit of a shift to be in a small community, but we are enjoying getting to know our neighbors and we have been pleased by how welcoming and warm everyone is.”


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Courtroom drama at Waldorf College to raise money for Winnebago County Historical Society

The Sunday night jury pronounced Jake Studor guilty of assault. A new verdict from the residents of Forest City, different from the one declared over 100 years ago.

Community members get to decide the fate of Studor in a theatrical representation of the 1900 Murder Trial of Jake Studor , a fundraiser organized by the Winnebago County Historical Society.

Directed by Dr. Bob AuFrance , associate professor of theatre at Waldorf College, the play involves 16 community members in the cast. “While six of them have been in movies before, some have never even acted in front of a live audience,” AuFrance said, who plays the judge.

The idea for the play originated before Puckerbrush Days last year when Riley Lewis, the president of the historical society, approached Dr. AuFrance about the fundraiser. Lewis, who had heard about other cities doing re-enactments of historical cases, wanted the community to produce one on the trial of Jake Studor.  

In the original case, Forest City resident Jake Studor was charged with attempted murder after he shot the local sheriff. In the re-enactment, the audience/jury can either pronounce him guilty of attempted murder, or assault or acquit him as innocent.

The play required actors to research their characters since the whole performance was designed without a script. The cast dug up local as well as statewide newspapers to learn the details of the case.

“A lot of information was missing in the local newspaper,” said Dr. AuFrance who found some new facts in the archives of Des Moines and Cedar Rapids newspapers. “Everyone involved in the process had to become historians.”

He was very pleased with the response the cast received on Sunday night.
“The audience was very appreciative. Just the support from the community is amazing,” he said.  “People I don’t know ask me how the play is going or when is the next show.”

Family members and community supporters filled up the 164 seats in Salveson Hall’s ballroom last Sunday. Dr. AuFrance is hoping the play will also attract visitors to Puckerbrush Days and Winnebago’s Grand National Rally to the shows being held at 7 p.m. Thursday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday.  As of Thursday afternoon, every ticket to every performance had been sold.

Play tickets cost $10 each, with all profits benefitting the Winnebago County Historical Society. In addition to ticket sales, the society plans to collect money through sales of popcorn donated by Brad Buffington, the owner of Iowa Gold Kettle Korn.

“The Winnebago County Historical Society hopes to raise about $4,000 through the fundraiser,” said Cindy Carter, the secretary of the society.

The money the society collects through this fundraiser will be used to remodel the mansion annex into historical library and general operating costs for the mansion house.