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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Commencement Day 2: Clouds can’t dampen mood

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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Doctorate is one more way youth homes CEO fulfills lofty goals

April 22, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Rick Vacek GCU Today Magazine A day in the life of Tom Granado starts like a space launch — early and with a burst of energy that takes it to new heights. He and his wife, Wynn, get up at 4:30 a.m. and pray for a half-hour before she goes to work and he goes to work out. A few hours later, when the founder and CEO of New Horizon Youth Homes arrives in his Tempe, Ariz., office, his staff members say it’s impossible not to know he’s there, such is his considerable presence. They talk fondly about his “Tomisms,” about the way he gets excited about new ideas in staff meetings, and about how the family atmosphere he has created makes it like no other job they’ve had. It takes passion and unflagging enthusiasm to run 14 Valley locations that provide residential and outpatient services to at-risk children, teens and adults. It takes an incredible work ethic to do all that while completing his doctorate at Grand Canyon University. It takes someone like Tom Granado. “Our role model is our CEO,” said Jason Kindred, program director of New Horizon. “What I like,” added administrative director Mindy Leon, “is […]

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Spotlight on Catherine Brubaker, Class of 2007

April 22, 2015 / by / 1 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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GCU professor Filippo Posta lectures to students during the Tuesday “ground” day of his spring Math 134 class. Posta led the first blended learning class at GCU last summer. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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Blended learning format mixes traditional, online learning

March 02, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

GCU introduced a new blended learning format to a number of undergraduate classes during summer 2014 as a way to reinvent 100-level classes to be more engaging and valuable as core degree courses. The format, which combines the best elements of online and traditional classes, has already impacted student learning.

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Marla Booker graduated from GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions in October. (Photo by Darryl Webb)
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Master’s = adventure in Qatar for new graduate

March 02, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Janie Magruder GCU Today Magazine There are no tiny patients born too early for their own good, no new mothers wrung out with worry over their babies’ ragged breaths, no nurses rushing to respond to jarring alarms in Marla Booker’s new workplace. In fact, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Sidra Medical and Research Center, which Booker has been hired to help staff and run, isn’t open yet. But there’s still plenty for this Grand Canyon University alumna to do in a place that could not be more different from where she spent her entire adult life, as a wife, mother, nurse and hospital administrator. In November, not 30 days after walking across the GCU Arena stage to accept her diploma for a master’s degree in health care administration, Booker moved 6,600 miles from her longtime home in Connecticut to Qatar, a small, oil-rich nation on the coast of the Persian Gulf. Ending a 25-year career at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, she is helping create a state-of-the-art hospital for women and children in the capital city of Doha. It was a bold move for anyone but especially for someone who, at age 47, never had traveled […]

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GCU celebrates online community at reception, game

February 23, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Photos by Darryl Webb GCU News Bureau GCU welcomed online students and faculty to campus Saturday with a reception and free tickets to the men’s basketball game. In rolling out the purple carpet, the University also feted three exemplary students who gave testimonials during the reception, and it awarded scholarships to the children of one of the students, Jessica Smith.    

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Eric Gabriel with his wife, Melissa
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Softball star turned amputee has winning attitude

February 20, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Eric Gabriel, one of the online learners who will be honored on campus this weekend, has turned losing his right leg into an opportunity to show others how to attack such a life-changing event. He has done so with humor and no-quit attitude, as demonstrated in this GCU Today story.

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GCU online professor John Steele is admired by his peers for his dedication to improving the student learning experience. Steel and three online students will be honored at Online Student and Faculty Appreciation Night Saturday on campus. (Photo by Tyler McDonald)
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Online professor motivated by student success

February 19, 2015 / by / 1 Comment

Grand Canyon University online professor John Steele was selected as an online professor to be recognized during Online Student Night along with three online students. Steele has developed a way to improve GCU online education as part of the CIRT Advisory Board and the Plagiarism Task Force. He is praised by peers and students for his intrinsic dedication to student success.

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GCU nursing student Jessica Smith (second from right) is grateful for her family (from left), stepson Ian Smith, daughter Autumn Stapleton, husband Kelly Smith, daughter Desiree Minnis and son Sully Stapleton. She is among three students and one professor whom GCU will honor during Online Student Night Saturday on campus. (Photos courtesy of Jessica Smith)
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God, family sustain nurse during tough year

February 18, 2015 / by / 4 Comments

GCU nursing student Jessica Smith endured more heartache last year than many of us will experience in a lifetime, never mind the challenges she’s faced since graduating from high school. And yet Smith, who with two other students and a faculty member will be honored by GCU at Online Student Night Saturday, said her blessings and the miraculous kindnesses of others are too many to count.

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GCU student Gary Skinner, 63, sits with his dog in a room that he's remodeled at his Marana, Ariz. home.
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Marana resident sees, believes in GCU online degree

February 17, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Gary Skinner didn’t jump right into college out of high school. He created his own businesses and fought through some serious health issues, including one that led him to become blind before finding his way into GCU’s online psychology program. Now, at 63, he is soon to be equipped with a bachelor’s degree that could lead him into a counseling career.

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