Published August 21, 2019
Wittenberg Alumni & Friends,
On Monday, we officially kicked off our new academic year with the start of classes and concluded our Welcome Week for the incoming students in the Class of 2023. Thanks go to everyone who had a hand, including you, our alumni, in helping us bring in this class. Your referrals, engagement, positive energy, and passion for this place made a real difference, and I am confident that your investments of time will improve our retention and allow us to celebrate with more students at graduation years from now.
Adding to our forward momentum is excitement about the opening of our Health, Wellness, and Athletics Complex. These facilities are magnificent and will set the standard of excellence in Division III, across our region, and beyond. The facilities will be open for tours during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, Oct. 24-27, so that you can experience the "Wow Factor" for yourself. I hope you will take the time to return to campus to reconnect and see the changes we are making to attract future generations to Wittenberg.
While there are many positives, I want to acknowledge that we, like most institutions our size, face increasing challenges that impact higher education broadly and some that are specific to Wittenberg. These challenges cannot compromise our investments in our people or our campus, but they do require that we adapt and evolve. At this time, we need to right-size ourselves and adjust to the forces we face. We are beginning that process, and I will keep you posted as appropriate in these monthly communications.
In the meantime, please continue to refer students to us and to share your Wittenberg story. Your efforts matter, and they make an impact.
Michael Frandsen, Ph.D.
In The News: U.S. Virgin Islands Governor, Witt Series, Bailey Bug, Coffee Expressions, JET, and Promotion
Albert Bryan Jr. ’89 is “changing the course” as the only African American governor in the nation, including states and territories, following his election to the highest office in the U.S. Virgin Islands this past January. The accomplishment completes a lifelong goal that Bryan said he has worked on since graduating from Wittenberg.
The University will celebrate the 37th season of the Wittenberg Series. Offering the campus, Springfield community, and greater region a diverse selection of guest lecturers and world-renowned performers, this year’s series will begin with the traditional Opening Convocation featuring a keynote address by Michelle Mattson, Wittenberg’s new provost, at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, in historic Weaver Chapel.
As the winner of Wittenberg’s first-ever Tiger Tank held in 2018, Melanie Barrett ’21 has connected with alumni to launch her business, Bailey Bug LLC, which makes capes specially designed for wheelchair occupants. Now she aspires to appear on Shark Tank, the national TV show that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into successful enterprises.
A community partnership with a locally owned and operated coffee shop will make Thomas Library an even more inviting place with the smell and warmth of fresh coffee and home cooking. Coffee Expressions Witt will offer a full-service menu starting this fall.
A love of Japan and Japanese culture has developed into a career opportunity for Heather Rucker ’19, who recently left for Japan to work as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) as part of the highly competitive Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. She carries on Wittenberg’s tradition of excellence in student admission to the program.
Chris Nelson, director of leadership giving, will now serve as senior director of development. In addition to assisting with the development of donor engagement strategies for Wittenberg’s new $50 million Health, Wellness, and Athletics Complex, he will work to elevate leadership and planned giving programs, and strengthen constituent relationships.
Jeremiah Williams, associate professor of physics, had the unique opportunity last month to conduct an experiment on the International Space Station. In addition to collaborating with a 12-member team of scientists and several international agencies, Williams also involved students in analyzing data for the project.
Professor of Biology Jay Yoder was featured in a Yukon News article about research he conducted on fungi that appear in Yukon soil. The study’s results, which appear in the Studies in Fungi journal, could someday have important implications for tick-management programs.
For Zacchaeus Martin ’19, an internship with Oesterlen Services for Youth in Springfield deepened his understanding of the mental health profession and has since reaffirmed his desire to pursue a career as a youth counselor.
Named city manager for the City of Springfield earlier this year, Bryan Heck ’06, a lifelong resident of Clark County, Ohio, is dedicated to continuing the revitalization of his hometown.
First introduced to computer graphics as a student at Wittenberg, Jason Waltman ’01 has tapped into both the left and right sides of his brain for positions at DreamWorks and Apple.
Meet the Alumni Board
As the governing body of the Wittenberg University Alumni Association, the Alumni Board regularly returns to campus to interact with current students, highlight faculty excellence, foster alumni engagement, support fundraising, and partner with admission in encouraging prospective students to make Wittenberg their college choice. This month's featured board member is Tosha Bell '07. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Bell is a nuclear engineer working for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in Washington, D.C., where she currently resides with her husband, Dustin. She majored in physics with a minor in mathematics prior to pursuing graduate school at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.