Archive for December, 2015

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Coaching flexes muscles of Majerle’s basketball IQ

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Rick Vacek Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine You first notice the arms that would make Popeye envious. Unlike many former professional athletes, Dan Majerle has maintained his chiseled physique, shaped by a regimen of several hundred daily pushups plus weightlifting. The rest of Majerle’s body, ravaged by 14 surgeries, makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning, but his arms are still all-stars. “I’m a fitness freak that way,” he said. “It’s always what I’ve been about, trying to stay as active as possible. I always ate well, too. If I get too fat, I feel bad.” And the pain? “I wear it as a badge of honor because I’ve been through so much. It’s just part of the price you have to pay.” Those arms and that attitude are emblematic of the intensity that made “Thunder Dan” one of the fiercest players in the history of the National Basketball Association and is a big part of his coaching style in his third season at Grand Canyon University. But former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo had another word in mind when he made the pride of Central Michigan University his controversial first-round pick in […]

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Parkland, water and trees
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18 ways GCU Golf Course provides key links

December 01, 2015 / by / 3 Comments

Story by Rick Vacek Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine Good decisions are a win-win. Great ones are a win-win-win. So what do you call one with 18 wins? You call it Grand Canyon University Golf Course. The oasis at 59th Avenue and Indian School Road is scheduled to reopen Jan. 1 after an 11-month transformation that has rejuvenated venerable but no longer viable Maryvale Golf Course. Just like that, a 54-year-old facility is far more than a nice, little “muni” — it’s now a championship layout that’s challenging for the best players and yet playable for the less skilled. “The course had gotten tired and really needed an update,” said Rick Navratil, president of the Maryvale Men’s Club. “I’m not sure how long it would have survived if GCU hadn’t come in.” The University came in as more than just a $10 million investor to renovate and manage the course — it came in with a plan. President Brian Mueller is an avid golfer who turned all four of his children into excellent players, and he was passionate about making much more than minor adjustments. “That’s a 130-acre piece of property with mature trees, lakes — a total parkland course,” […]

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Thunder athleticism
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Antelope-ology: No one can steal our Thunder

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

By Cooper Nelson GCU Today Magazine Pop quiz: Why is Grand Canyon University’s nickname the Antelopes? What’s the significance of purple? And what’s the backstory of how Thunder got his name? Don’t know? Don’t worry. Most students and employees know very little about this part of University history — and they’re not to blame. Records are mostly anecdotal, found in old school yearbooks and passed down from longtime employees and alumni such as Faith Weese, chief University relations officer; L.E. “Sharky” Baker, Class of 1956; Mildred Brazell, wife of former baseball coach Dave Brazell; and late theology professor Dr. J. Niles Puckett. For a GCU history lesson, we spoke with Sharky’s nephew, Senior Associate Athletic Director Keith Baker. The alumnus and 32-year University veteran qualifies as the resident campus historian and knows the answers to those questions, including how an often mocked beast of burden nearly became GCU’s mascot. “We were close to being the Donkeys,” he said. “The Grand Canyon University Donkeys is not nearly as marketable (as Antelopes), in my mind.” Antelopes have represented GCU well. The “Lopes” nickname, which has become iconic in Arizona and the Southwest, led to the creation of GCU’s beloved mascot “Thunder,” which […]

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Community zest: Love unites GCU students and those in need

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Janie Magruder Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine Generally speaking, Millennials are self-absorbed, wasteful, even greedy, and not terribly responsible, compassionate or willing to sacrifice. Or so people in that generation (ages 13 to 33) told the Pew Research Group in a 2015 study. The surveyors must have skipped over Grand Canyon University. Here, a growing number of students rise before the sun to feed the homeless, wedge into their schedules babysitting time for neighborhood moms learning English and consistently make friends with 6-year-olds and septuagenarians alike. The students do it for no pay or school credit. They get much more — the joy of being able to give back to the community. They are part of GCU’s mushrooming Local Outreach, which has twice as many student-led ministries this year as last that have attracted 1,500 volunteers in the first 10 weeks of fall semester. Chris Cunningham, Local Outreach coordinator, said the students’ commitment to and love for the populations they serve debunk stereotypes about Millennials. “People say we are lazy, we don’t work hard, that we’re always talking about helping the world, that we’re attracted to big ideas and dreams, but they want to know when […]

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Sharp rise in cutting-edge STEM degrees

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Laurie Merrill  Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine In the heralding of a new era, Grand Canyon University is rolling out a new series of online science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees in subjects ranging from digital design to cybersecurity. The seven bachelor of science degrees represent the tip of the information-age iceberg. GCU is seeking to ramp up its online offerings as it escalates its emphasis on STEM subjects for all students. “We are designing cutting-edge programs that represent the future of STEM education,” said Dr. Hank Radda, the University’s provost. “We have innovative ways of delivering STEM education to online populations.” This initial crop of online STEM degrees, with plans underway to offer more in the future, are the latest moves GCU is making to produce well-trained, highly competitive graduates in these subject areas as well as to make the degrees more accessible. The number of STEM students GCU graduates each year is growing, and so are the number of opportunities to apply their skills, said Dr. Mark Wooden, dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “There is a huge job market in this area,” Wooden said. According to the Economics & Statistics Administration […]

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Arts program sets stage for students to entertain different career paths

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Janie Magruder Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine Whoever said, “Opportunity knocks but once,” was never a student in the College of Fine Arts and Production at Grand Canyon University. Now in Year 6 since resurrecting its theatre and music programs after a four-year closure, the college is peppering students with myriad chances to learn everything in their respective arts fields, which now also include dance, digital film, digital design and advertising design. It’s rare to find a COFAP graduate who can’t tap-dance, sew a seam, build a set, memorize lines, demonstrate perfect pitch, light a stage, direct other students, choreograph, make a film, design a web page and style Bride of Frankenstein hair — or at least hasn’t had occasions to try. “This is a laboratory of education that has a public audience,” said Dean Claude Pensis, who started and was a leader of the arts program for 20 years before it was shuttered in 2006 because of the University’s economic woes. The administration reopened it in 2010, with Pensis at the helm. “The goal is to work with students in such a way that minimizes shortcomings that may occur, while maximizing their successes,” he said. […]

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New CSET assistant dean energized by power of IT

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Laurie Merrill GCU Today Magazine As Grand Canyon University expands its degree program for online and traditional students, the College of Science, Engineering and Technology has welcomed a new face to help manage the growth. Dr. Heather Gollnow joined CSET in October as assistant dean and associate professor of information technology, computer science and computer programming. Gollnow, who has 20 years of experience in IT and IT education, most recently was vice president of academics and compliance at Education Affiliates, a career college in Baltimore. For several years, she has designed and implemented graduate-level, online professional-development courses, created K-12 STEM curricula and conducted workshops in teaching technology. Gollnow said she is thrilled to be at GCU not only because it poses a challenging career opportunity, but also because the University’s Christian worldview strengthens student character and urges them to contribute to society. “I love the energy,” Gollnow said. “I love seeing how everyone is working well together to accomplish some really amazing things.” Math, programming and computer science come easily to Gollnow, a former education director at Kaplan Higher Education and chair of the School of Information Technology at ITT Technical Institute in Green Bay, Wis. “I’m a really analytical […]

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‘Visionary Leader’ helps students see the light

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Laurie Merrill  Photos by Darryl Webb GCU Today Magazine Eric Atuahene squeezed into a child-size chair between two first-graders at Quentin Elementary School in Avondale and peered at their drawings. “What’s your message?” he asked a girl whose sketches showed one classmate sticking out a tongue and another calling someone an inappropriate name. “It’s when someone makes you feel bad,” the child said, pausing, pencil in hand, to gaze upward into his face. “We’re not supposed to do that.” It’s a typical day for Atuahene, Quentin’s 40-year-old principal and a Grand Canyon University alumnus. He visits classrooms at least three days a week and engages students and teachers in earnest conversation. It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. And it’s a typical lesson for Quentin students, who are immersed in positive messages and encouraged to meet their principal’s high expectations for learning, behavior and character. “No one has the right to interfere with the learning, safety or wellbeing,” is the predominant rule at the nearly 1,000-pupil campus in the Littleton Elementary School District. This is Atuahene’s second year as principal, and the new philosophies and goals he has set in motion and his desire to learn from […]

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Not easily bugged: Koloski savors Travel Channel Star role

December 01, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Story by Laurie Merrill  GCU Today Magazine  Was it snacking on a mealworm that went “pop” in her mouth or plummeting 35 feet during a ropes-course challenge? Janel Koloski, a 26-year-old graduate of Grand Canyon University’s College of Education, isn’t quite sure. But she definitely did something right to land a dream job hosting a five-part web series on TravelChannel.com. “My whole thing was I was fearless — fearless of insects, fearless of heights,” said Koloski, a native of Greensburg, Pa. “I just really believe in pushing through it. I’ll just tell myself, ‘It’s OK,’ and go for it.” Go for it she did. Her daredevil gusto in tackling freakish tasks — cuddling a live tarantula and tiptoeing across a sky bridge among them — along with her refreshing personality and wholesome good looks helped her land the role of a lifetime. From among 1,200 online applicants, Koloski ascended through three rounds of online voting by fans, then was named by network judges the first Travel Channel Star in September. She has finished filming the series in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M. When the shows air next year, viewers will see Koloski float in a hot-air balloon, explore the Cochiti Mesa with […]

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