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2017-18 GCU Year in Review: The top 10 stories

Editor’s note: This story is reprinted from the April issue of GCU Magazine. To read the digital version of the magazine, click here.

1. Non-profit application OK’d

 GCU takes a major step toward reverting to a non-profit university when its application is approved by the Higher Learning Commission. As part of the transition, expected to be completed by the end of June, Grand Canyon Education will sell certain academic-related assets to a non-profit entity that will carry the Grand Canyon University name. Following the sale, GCE will operate as a third-party provider of educational and related services to GCU and potentially, in the future, to other universities.

Jerry Colangelo speaks at the gala to celebrate the opening of the museum in his honor.

2. A night at the museum

Friends, family and celebrities celebrate the opening of the Jerry Colangelo Museum, a tribute to the man who put Phoenix on the sports map and has been a major contributor at GCU.

3. Where there’s a need, there’s GCU

GCU’s pilot program assists the struggling Murphy Elementary School District in southwest Phoenix: Aspiring teachers help at Garcia Elementary, about 300 GCU students turn out at Serve the City to provide the Garcia campus with a new coat of paint and other improvements, and learning advocates (LEADs) from the Learning Lounge work with district students after school.

4. Range of options in cybersecurity

As part of GCU’s commitment to innovate cybersecurity education and meet the growing need for experts in the field, the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range- Metro Phoenix opens at 27th Avenue and Camelback Road. The University also continues to expand its bachelor’s and master’s cybersecurity degree offerings.

GCU’s campus was ranked eighth in the country for 2017. (Photo by Slaven Gujic)

5. One game from the Big Dance

In its first shot at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the men’s basketball team comes up just short of qualifying for the NCAAs, losing to New Mexico State in the WAC championship game. Also, pole vaulter Scott Marshall (second team) and swimmer Mark Nikolaev (honorable mention) became the first GCU athletes to earn NCAA Division I All-American honors.

6. A lot to build on

The opening of the new baseball and softball stadiums is only the start of another highly constructive year. Also sprouting up, all on the east side of campus, are two more apartment-style residence halls, the new Colangelo College of Business building, a club sports center and a parking garage.

Katie Peterson became Keonta Vernon’s fiancee on Senior Night. (Photo by Slaven Gujic)

7. A decade of frozen tuition — cool!

Talk about a perfect 10: For the 10th consecutive year, GCU freezes tuition on the ground campus. “Cost should not be a deterrent to earning a college degree,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “Instead, universities must be innovative in their approach to higher education.”

8. GCU on list of best campuses

It certainly isn’t a surprise to any students who live here, but GCU’s campus is named the eighth-best in the country by Niche, a company that specializes in data on educational institutions. GCU finished just ahead of Stanford (ninth) and Yale (10th) in the 2017 rankings.

9. The race to dissertation 500

The College of Doctoral Studies approves its 500th dissertation and also breaks its single-year record for graduates. The lucky No. 500 belongs to Melissa Beddow, a member of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology faculty.

10. Love is all around us

A little more than a month after GCU senior Levi Conlow draws national attention with his marriage proposal to Rachel O’Brien before a huge crowd of classmates in front of the Student Union, basketball player Keonta Vernon gets down on a knee to do the same with his girlfriend, Katie Peterson, during the team’s Senior Night at GCU Arena.

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