Published November 14, 2019
Wittenberg Alumni & Friends,
With the 2019 Homecoming & Reunion Weekend now officially in the books, Sharon and I want to offer our deepest thanks to everyone who made it back to campus for this celebration of our alumni and their lifelong connection with Wittenberg. From the Grand Opening of our new Health, Wellness, and Athletics Complex, to the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the CBS Walkout, to milestone reunions, the Alumni Achievement Awards, tailgating and every event in between, you reminded all of us that Wittenberg holds a special place in your heart.
I also want to take a moment to recognize the Class of 1969, which celebrated its 50th reunion. The class' stories and memories were inspiring, as was the class' generosity as evidenced by its remarkable gift of $1,813,384.94. All of us at Wittenberg are most grateful to the Class of 1969 and its commitment to ensuring that future generations choose our University.
Lastly, to our Western Michigan alumni, I invite you to attend the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 3 p.m. today, November 14, hosted by Calvin College. I also invite our New York alumni to attend the men's basketball game against Brooklyn College at 3 p.m. Saturday, November 16, followed by a post-game reception at 5:30 p.m. at Dallas BBQ.
Thank you for all you do for Wittenberg. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Below please find my latest update.
Michael Frandsen, Ph.D.
Weekend to Remember: Homecoming Videos
See inside the new HWA Complex and The Steemer.
Hear the powerful stories of CBS members firsthand.
Learn more about Dr. Anup Patel '95, the 2019 Alumnus of the Year.
Witt Everywhere: One Night. All Alumni. Live.
Whether at your local chapter event or from the comfort of your home, Witt Everywhere will unite alumni, families, and friends through a special YouTube Live conversation and Q&A with President Mike Frandsen and others. To send your pre-event questions, click here by Dec. 20. Special website is forthcoming. Save the date: January 16, 2020, 7-9 p.m. EST.
In The News: Global Leader, Hall of Honor, Exercise Science, Student Success, Advent and Christmas, and #LifeAfterWitt
Satta Sheriff, an internationally recognized advocate for children’s rights, peace, empowerment, and justice from Liberia, is a member of the class of 2023. Named the Most Influential Teenager in Liberia and a Peace Ambassador for One Young World and the European Commission, she has represented children’s voices at the United Nations and African Union.
Tim Altman ’96, Steve Dawson, Jeff Pfister ’67, Daniel Russ ’06, Rebecca Russ Spencer ’03, Geri Woessner ’04, and Caroline Zimmerman will join 235 other Wittenberg greats when they are inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor during the University’s first-ever Athletics Reunion Weekend, April 23-25, 2020. In addition, Jim Render ’64 will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
To help meet the high demand for allied health professionals, Wittenberg has hired John Thistlethwaite, associate professor of health & sport studies, to grow the exercise science program. He believes Wittenberg offers students powerful hands-on experiences with lab equipment, research opportunities, and mock assessments similar to what they will encounter in a professional or graduate program.
As a member of the women’s basketball team, student manager at the University’s main switchboard, volunteer at Catholic Central and Project Jericho in Springfield, and participant in the Hagen Center Summer Internship Program, Jenna Bluemlein, class of 2020, has immersed herself in the campus and local communities. In the process, she has found a home away from home at Wittenberg.
The annual Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas service will be held at 7:30 pm. Friday, Dec. 6, in historic Weaver Chapel. Offering a time of music and reflection as the Advent season unfolds, this service includes performances by Wittenberg’s music ensembles and concludes with a candlelit singing of “Silent Night.”
Fifteen states and 3,500 miles later, Libby Bauman ’18 completed her first cross-country bike ride with the Fuller Center for Housing while simultaneously raising $4,000 for the organization. The Fuller Center for Housing is a nonprofit organization that partners with individuals as well as community groups to build and recover homes for those in need of adequate housing.
Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom, Wray Chair in the Humanities, professor of history, and director of archaeology, has been awarded the prize for Best Popular Book on Archaeology for her most recent book, The Monastic Landscape of Late Antique Egypt: An Archaeological Reconstruction (Cambridge University Press, 2017). The award, which carries a $500 prize, is presented biennially by the Biblical Archaeology Society.
An opportunity for groups of high school youth to work side-by-side with community leaders in service and advocacy, Discipleship Dive will be held June 21-26, 2020 at Wittenberg. Youth will learn real-world advocacy through one of four mission areas, including Arts, Story and Media, Environment and Sustainability, and Wellness and Play, while serving at sites in Springfield.
Passing Back Light
This year, many Wittenberg alumni and friends are choosing to use funds from their IRA to make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to Wittenberg. This is an easy way to fulfill your required minimum distribution (RMD) while not requiring you to recognize it as taxable income. If you are age 70 ½ and have a traditional IRA, talk to your advisor about the benefits of gifting from your RMD. Consider naming Wittenberg as a beneficiary of your retirement plan as well, as these assets are taxable when distributed to a loved one; they are tax-free when left to a 501(c)(3) organization like Wittenberg. If we can help you meet your charitable goals while advancing Wittenberg’s mission, or if we can recognize your thoughtfulness in already leaving a legacy at Wittenberg through your estate plans, please email Chris Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-591-1479.
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 feature is Seth Bridger '97. After graduating from Wittenberg with a B.A. in history, Bridger served as an AmeriCorps volunteer with City Year Columbus before entering graduate school at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, where he earned his M.Div. in 2006 and was subsequently ordained into Word and Sacrament ministry in the ELCA. He has served congregations in Savannah, Georgia, Cincinnati, Ohio, and now serves on staff of Messiah Lutheran Church in Fairview Park, Ohio. He is married to Shelley Nelson-Bridger '99, and together they are raising two sons, Noah and Zachary. They live in North Olmsted, Ohio.