In just its second year, GCU's speech and debate team has captured plenty of hardware, like these trophies from a February tournament in San Diego. (Courtesy of Barry Regan)
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Speakers, debaters to face elite teams at tourney

March 05, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Grand Canyon University’s speech and debate team is sending 12 students to the Pi Kappa Delta national forensics championships in Ohio this week.

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Healing from the heartbreak of childhood cancer

March 03, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Janie Magruder GCU News Bureau Life was too short for McKenzie Monks. A born performer, youngest child of Denise and Richard Monks and part of a mutual admiration society with her two  older siblings, McKenzie was diagnosed with kidney cancer at age 3. Despite aggressive treatments, she died before she  could get to kindergarten. “She went through so much and her life was taken far too soon,” said sister Mandy Monks, a student at Grand Canyon University. “The lessons she taught us — to always be grateful for your blessings and tell the people you love — changed our entire outlook on life. We wanted to do something to have her name live on.” Ten years ago, the family started the McKenzie Monks Foundation, which has donated $1 million to open the Kenzie Center in Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s (PCH) Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and has given 2,000 wheeled suitcases filled with age- and gender-appropriate toys and comfort items to children diagnosed with cancer there. Called Kenzie Kases, the suitcases are patterned after McKenzie’s pink Hello Kitty bag that she took to the hospital for every treatment. The Monks plan to join an estimated 4,500 people on GCU’s main […]

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‘Zoey’ earns top honor at GCU Film Festival

March 02, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Best Picture at the ninth annual Grand Canyon University Film Festival went to “Zoey,” a found-footage style film of a couple’s home video for their unborn child by junior Anthony DiMaria, recent alumnus Jeff Dykhuizen and seniors Jeremy Bridges and Sam Varghese.

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Masterworks Concert II inspired by Bible passage

February 25, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Janie Magruder GCU News Bureau Each year, as Dr. Juan Hernandez, director of Grand Canyon University’s music department and assistant dean of its College of Fine Arts and Production, is planning the kind of music that vocalists and instrumentalists should perform at major concerts, he goes straight to the Bible. This year, in Philippians 4:8, Hernandez found his inspiration from the Apostle Paul: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Music that exists to do just that, in the praise and worship of God, will be performed at GCU’s Masterworks Concert II, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday at First Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix, 3100 W. Camelback Road, on the southeast side of campus. The free event will feature about 100 student performers in the Canyon Chorale, Canyon Singers and Critical Mass, in addition to faculty and student soloists, performing traditional choral repertory. They will be led by Hernandez and GCU vocal instructor Dr. Sheila Corley and accompanied by veteran pianist Mark Fearey. The feature work is English composer Benjamin Britten’s “Rejoice […]

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Tyler Stahlecker, 4, is the picture of health after more than two years of cancer treatments. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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Oncology nurse helps young son survive cancer

February 25, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Janie Magruder GCU News Bureau Since emerging from the fog she and her family were trapped in for nine months in 2012 and 2013, Jennifer Stahlecker has asked herself the same question over and over: “Why didn’t I do something sooner?” After all, Stahlecker was an expert in recognizing the telltale symptoms of childhood cancer, among them, an unhealthy pallor, fever, headache and other physical complaints. For a decade she had worked as an oncology nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH), helping dozens of little cancer patients through brutal, but medically necessary treatments and offering both her expertise and a shoulder to cry on to their parents and siblings. But in July 2012, Stahlecker, who had just earned a nurse practitioner degree, was away from PCH and training for her advanced career in a pediatrician’s office, where she focused on runny noses and sore throats instead. “In oncology, it’s always something horrible, but I was more in the mindset at this time of ‘Oh, it’s always nothing,’” she said. Stahlecker, who was eight months pregnant, had noticed her son, Tyler, acting strangely. Perhaps he had the “terrible twos” or somehow sensed his life was about to change with a new baby in the family, she thought. He […]

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Stellar student film program to host expanded festival

February 24, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

The GCU Film Festival will include screenings of student films at Ethington Theatre from 6-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. An award ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday. Awards will be given out for six categories (animation, comedy, documentary, drama, faith and music video), in addition to an award for best overall film and a fan-favorite award students can vote on. The festival will be hosted by Associated Students of GCU president Cody Dumas and Lopes basketball player Daniel Alexander. Both are film majors.

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Javen Manning (center) surprised his sisters, Jessalyn (left) and GCU sophomore Lauryn during Saturday night's men's basketball game with help from a few sworn-to-secrecy folks at the University. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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Arena reunion with brother surprises GCU student

February 23, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Janie Magruder GCU News Bureau The Manning family of Tucson really enjoys Christmas together, right down to the five pairs of matching jammies that Santa brings. But the past two Christmases were a little rough on John and Rhonda, parents of eldest child, Jessalyn, and the baby of the family, Lauryn, because their son, Javen, is in the U.S. Air Force and couldn’t get holiday leave. They made up for it Saturday night in Grand Canyon University’s Arena where, during the first timeout of the men’s basketball game, Javen surprised his sisters by greeting them on the Jumbotron and then walking onto the court. It was part of a hush-hush plan that began in January with a conversation between John and GCU CEO/President Brian Mueller, and it was configured by Helen Bleach, senior director of University relations and campus events, and her super stealth Events Services staff. Thunder knew about it, too, but most everyone else did not. Lauryn, a 20-year-old GCU sophomore and member of the dance team, screamed and burst into tears shortly after her big brother’s smiling face appeared on the huge screen. The scene had been configured to have Lauryn, Jessalyn and most everyone else […]

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The Associated Students of GCU student government led efforts to connect the campus into the national "It's On Us" campaign to prevent sexual assault. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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‘It’s On Us’ campaign stresses campus safety

February 23, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

While Grand Canyon University’s campus is safer than many, students, faculty and staff are encouraged this week to sign a pledge statement to a universal “commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault.” The effort is part of the national “It’s On Us” campaign launched by the Obama administration.

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Saturday ROTC rifle exercise at Little Canyon Park is just a drill

February 20, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Grand Canyon University students and staff can expect to see an ROTC rifle exercise, with rubber M-16 rifles, at Little Canyon Park and near Saguaro Hall on Saturday.

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Romeo, played by GCU freshman Trevor Penzone, and Juliet, played by veteran senior Joy Flatz, share a kiss during the College of Fine Arts and Production's performance of the popular Shakespeare work, which opens Friday in Ethington Theatre.
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Students embrace Shakespeare’s famous romance

February 04, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like roses, dark chocolate and William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” You’re on your own for the first two, but GCU’s College of Fine Arts and Production happens to be presenting the romantic tragedy this weekend and next in Ethington Theatre. GCU Today has a preview of a show you don’t want to miss and a peek at the actors, set and costumes in this slideshow. BYOKleenex.

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