There were plenty of diplomas awarded at this morning commencement for non-traditional students in the Colangelo College of Business and the College of Doctoral Studies in GCU Arena. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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Clouds can’t dampen sunny commencement moods

April 24, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By GCU News Bureau In the cool, crisp minutes before Friday’s commencement at Grand Canyon University, Dr. Michael Berger joked that he’d seen a range of reactions to the suddenly stormy and briefly rainy skies. The locals were the ones bundled up under sweaters and jackets. Out-of-towners didn’t seem to feel the chill in the 60-something-degree air. Still, the rain was minimal, the puddles puny, and anyone unfamiliar with April in the Valley of the Sun had to marvel at how the crystal-clear weather blended with the ceremony message about new opportunities and wide-open futures for GCU’s 560 morning graduates. Their degrees were conferred in the Colangelo College of Business and the College of Doctoral Studies, and most completed their degrees entirely online. Berger, dean of GCU’s College of Doctoral Studies, is a concierge and guest-greeter each year at commencement, actively intercepting anyone he can to route them to tickets, entrances, restrooms or whatever they might need before he has to “step away and do the dean thing” with other University leaders at the ceremony. He is one of hundreds of GCU volunteers who make commencement a warm and inviting atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Spotting the College of Doctoral Studies regalia in the crowd, Berger introduced himself to learners whom he might have known […]

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Colorful mortarboards have become a GCU commencement tradition. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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Poignant commencement filled with pomp and poetry

April 23, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By GCU News Bureau This morning’s commencement, the first of six to be held this week for the Grand Canyon University’s Class of 2015 in the Arena, had all the usual pomp — grinning parents using cellphones and Canons, elaborately decorated mortarboards balanced on graduates’ heads and purple in every corner of the Arena, on flowers, stoles and drapes. (Click here to see a slideshow.) But the 80-minute ceremony attended by 528 undergraduates in five colleges — Theology, Fine Arts and Production, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences and Science, Engineering and Technology — also was punctuated by poignant circumstances. For one, several graduates in the first CSET class adorned their mortarboards in ways unique to their career paths, such as outlines of bodies and crime scene tape. And there was not one but two student speakers, identical twin sisters Joy and Claire Flatz, who earned degrees in theatre from the College of Fine Arts and Production. The duo, who are as close to America’s sweethearts as you can get, did a lovely tag-team bit about how the University’s campus has changed in four years. (Then: no lines, no Chick-fil-A and the worst parking spot was behind Hegel Hall next to […]

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Students gave a huge thumbs-up to the Integration of Faith, Learning and Work in the classroom. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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Initiative is a leap of faith and learning in classroom

April 22, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

The Integration of Faith, Learning and Work initiative at GCU proved popular with both students and faculty. Students said it helped them take a new look at their faith, and faculty members saw it as a useful way to incorporate more prayer into the classroom.

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Flatz twins doubled their impact on performing arts

April 22, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Cooper Nelson Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine Twin theatre majors Claire and Joy Flatz are identical in appearance, but their interests, personalities and individual contributions to Grand Canyon University’s theatre program are distinctive. The 22-year-old seniors burst onto the College of Fine Arts and Production scene by playing the lead roles in the “The Boy Friend” as freshmen and have performed in 23 combined productions, often as leading ladies. Their costumes might as well hang from the ceiling of GCU’s Ethington Theatre, like retired jerseys in a sports arena, to commemorate their dazzling performances over four years. Notably, Joy played Cinderella in “Into the Woods,” the daughter of Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet” and Irene Adler in “Sherlock Holmes.” Claire played the baker’s wife in “Into the Woods” and the lead female role, Belle, in “A Christmas Carol.” The freedom to perform as freshmen allowed them to find their individual strengths in film and theatre. “There is inherently a safety net that comes with performing at college and failing, which has allowed us to grow,” Joy said. Said Claire, “Being able to perform as freshmen helped us gain confidence to pursue opportunities outside campus.” Their impressive […]

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A year to remember: GCU’s Top 10 stories of 2014-15

April 22, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

GCU Today Magazine  Photos by Darryl Webb There was no shortage of news at Grand Canyon University during the 2014-15 academic year. And it was no easy decision picking the Top 10 stories from the dozens that were produced by GCU Today. But those that emphasized community, growth and reputation quickly rose to the top. Here they are: 1. GCU revs economic engine in west Phoenix The University announced a five-point plan to revitalize the neighborhood, continued expanding its campus along the Canyon Corridor, agreed to operate and began renovating Maryvale Golf Course, and opened a hotel to train students in hospitality management and employ local residents. A study credited GCU with an annual economic impact of $1.1 billion that generates 10,490 jobs, with wages approaching $500 million per year. 2. What’s in a name? A lot, when it’s Colangelo GCU’s business school was renamed for Phoenix icon Jerry Colangelo, whose principles of servant leadership, ethics and entrepreneurship became as ingrained into campus life as he did in just a few short months. As part of the hospitality curriculum, the college also announced plans for golf course and tennis management programs. 3. It’s full STEM ahead as 8th college opens Determined to fill high-tech […]

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GCU alums minister to needs of Ugandans during medical mission trip

April 22, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

GCU Today Magazine A group of health care professionals who studied together at Grand Canyon University before going to medical school traveled to western Uganda last year to bring medical care and God’s love to people for whom modern necessities are scarce. Among them were Dr. David Engstrom and his wife, Jamie, a physician’s assistant, who operate Pinnacle Family Medicine in Litchfield Park, Drs. Nicole and Brent Nedella, Courtney Mitchell and Stephanie Bradley, all GCU alumni. (Photos courtesy of the Nedella family)

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Brain gain: Growing tutor program reaches more students than ever

April 22, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Janie Magruder GCU Today Magazine As a student at Canby High in northwestern Oregon, Bryce Beatty filled his days with chemistry, honors biology, advanced placement physics and playing shortstop for the baseball team. But when he came to Grand Canyon University in 2012, Beatty traded his mitt and jersey for latex gloves and an apron. For the then freshman, focusing on his major — biology with an emphasis in pre-med — required protection for his hands and clothing in GCU’s cadaver lab. Despite his considerable high school science background, Beatty knew he would need some help in chemistry as he pursued a career in spine surgery. As soon as he arrived on campus, he requested tutoring help from the Center for Learning & Advancement (CLA). Now a junior in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Beatty is one of GCU’s top science tutors. He helped inspire University leaders to restructure the tutoring system and is assisting with its success. There’s extra credit, of course: “If you can teach it, you know it,” he said. Narrowing the focus Tutoring has evolved over the past 18 months during a perfect storm of change at GCU. The administration wanted to boost […]

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The Nedellas, (from left) Jesse, Nicole and Brent, enjoy family time in the backyard of their Avondale, Ariz., home.
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Blessings abound for GCU alums Nicole and Brent Nedella

April 22, 2015 / by / 1 Comment

Story by Janie Magruder Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine Jesse Hannington Nedella is a cherubic blond bundle of busyness. He zips through his living room in Avondale, Ariz., alternately lobbing a fluffy ball at his dad’s head and fitting plastic triangles into a puzzle box. He stops just long enough to bounce on toddler legs to an Elmo song on TV’s “Sesame Street,” then pops a plastic bucket onto his head and continues to entertain. Jesse is 20 months old and even knows how to whistle. By all accounts, he is the definition of a miracle. The uniting of brainpower Looking back, their meeting at Grand Canyon University feels accidental. But Drs. Nicole (Stevenson) and Brent Nedella, now 34, have realized their relationship — which began awkwardly in organic chemistry class — and their entire lives are being orchestrated quite beautifully by God. Brent figured out at 13 that he wanted to be a doctor, and GCU made his undergraduate education possible with a scholarship. Nicole decided in kindergarten that she would be a veterinarian, came to GCU because of its cadaver lab (as so many high school students do) and switched to people medicine as a junior […]

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Spotlight on Catherine Brubaker, Class of 2007

April 22, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Paige Gruner Office of Alumni Relations GCU Today Magazine Catherine Brubaker is a two-time traumatic brain-injury survivor who has taken life by the handlebars. In 2010, Brubaker was assaulted, leaving her with a brain injury that also affected her heart, necessitating a pacemaker. Upon being discharged from the hospital, she was involved in a head-on collision and sustained a second injury to her brain. Three years after her accident, Brubaker was determined to take her life back. She purchased a recumbent tricycle and met Dan Zimmerman, a stroke survivor who was riding the same model. They realized they were riding for the same purpose — freedom. Zimmerman gave Brubaker his card, and on the back was a U.S. map with a red line from Anacortes, Wash., to Key West, Fla. Zimmerman was doing a cross-country bike ride to raise hope and awareness about cycling’s ability to help brain-injury survivors recover and regain their strength. Brubaker, of Tempe, Ariz., later called Zimmerman. She said, “I’m in. I want to do this ride.” She had six weeks to train and raise $10,000, which she accomplished with Zimmerman’s help and that of the community. Along with four other cyclists, Brubaker completed the […]

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Dr. Cheryl Roat is retiring after 27 years as a leader in the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions. Her last day is Friday.
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CONHCP’s ‘most dedicated person’ retiring

April 22, 2015 / by / 7 Comments

Folks in the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions have grown accustomed to Dr. Cheryl Roat’s smiling face, open door, sage advice and institutional knowledge. But after 27 years of helping bring GCU’s nursing college to prominence and nurturing its faculty, staff and students, Roat is retiring this week. GCU Today has a story about the many contributions of this regular fixture in the CONHCP and how she will be missed.

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