GCU News Bureau
The millennium has swept up Grand Canyon University in a whirlwind of change, and 2018-19 is no different.
The academic year launched with some game-changing news: GCU announced it would return to nonprofit status following approval over the summer by the Higher Learning Commission — the University had operated as a nonprofit from its founding in 1949 to 2004.
As always, new buildings rose on the burgeoning campus. This year, students are attending classes in the new Colangelo College of Business Building and taking up residence in two new apartment complexes — Cactus and Jerome — not to mention, they’re communing in new eateries on the east end of campus and shopping in a newly relocated Lope Shop.
And the WAC Tournament champion men’s soccer team ended a historic season with its debut trip to the Division I NCAA Tournament.
But the 2018-19 school year has far from ended, with some highlights yet to note as GCU Today takes a peek at its winter-spring 2019 calendar. With the 10-court Canyon Activities Center just about complete and the opening of Pita Jungle and Taco Bell on the horizon, we thought we’d give you a heads-up on just a few of the high points as we continue to add incoming events.
President Brian Mueller kicks off the semester in traditional fashion — with a Chapel talk Jan. 7 at GCU Arena (look for a story later this week on the rest of the semester’s Chapel speakers).
His talk will be followed on Jan. 9 with the official grand opening of the Colangelo College of Business. The 150,000-square-foot structure at the corner of Colter Street and 30th Drive already has seen plenty of foot traffic, as the University didn’t waste time in getting classes started there at the outset of the school year. Special guest speakers for the grand opening, from 9 a.m. to noon that day, will be President Mueller, CCOB Dean Randy Gibb, renowned economist Elliott D. Pollack and of course business icon Jerry Colangelo.
Also in January, for the second year the campus will host hundreds of high school students at the Speak Up, Stand Up, Save A Life Youth Conference. The event, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 22, focuses on bullying, grief and and encouraging students to do as its title says — speak up, stand up and save a life.
GCU students will kick off the new semester with the annual Winterfest from 8-10 p.m. Jan. 24 on the Grove Lawn. Almost 1,000 students attended the popular Canyon Activities Board event last year. They ice skated, ate mini pancakes, tried out a mechanical snowboard and danced the night away.
The splendor of the season will give way to some big academic events in February, namely the Honors College Spring Symposium and the Kevin McClean Research Colloquium. The symposium, from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 2, gives Honors students the chance to work with fellow Honors students and a faculty member toward a common project, with the chance to earn scholarship money. The second session of the symposium will follow March 2. The research colloquium, on the other hand, focuses on faculty, as several faculty members get a few minutes in the spotlight to talk about their research. It’s slated for 3:30-5 p.m. Feb. 7. The location for the symposium and colloquium are to be determined.
The baseball team, which has won the past two WAC regular-season championships, will open the season with the GCU Classic, which brings Wichita State (Feb. 15) and Stanford (Feb. 18) to upgraded GCU Ballpark.
The College of Fine Arts and Production will kick off the spring semester with the Theatre Department’s presentation of “Who Will Carry the Word,” a play based on the true story of Charlotte Delbo, a member of the French resistance who spent nearly three years in concentration camps. It will run from Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 15-17 at Ethington Theatre. Additionally, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences is hosting a Holocaust event on the play’s opening day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 8 at the theatre.
The fine arts college also will be busy in February with masterworks concerts (7-9 p.m. Feb. 7 and Feb. 14, First Southern Baptist Church), a Wind Ensemble concert (7-9 p.m. Feb. 12 at the church), and the college’s film festival (5-10 p.m. Feb. 28, Ethington Theatre).
Additionally, the month will see the return of Serve the City. On Feb. 9, students fan out into the neighborhood surrounding the campus as part of GCU’s Canyon Corridor revitalization efforts with Habitat for Humanity. As many as 300 students participate in this semiannual event.
On the sports scene, mark Feb. 9 as a must-see game for men’s basketball, which will play rival New Mexico State at 7 p.m. in GCU Arena.
One of the major events on campus is TEDxGCU (5-9 p.m. Feb. 22, Ethington Theatre), in which guests speak on a wide variety of thought-provoking and emotional subjects. This will be the third year for TEDxGCU, which is entirely student-produced.
February also is a big month for job fairs. Students can Meet the Agencies (3-6 p.m. Feb. 13, CCOB Courtyard), attend the Prehealth Grad Fair if they’re thinking of going to graduate school (10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 22), or head to the business college’s job fair (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Feb. 27, CCOB Lobby).
March will see the return of the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer. The annual event (March 16) is the largest in Arizona dedicated solely to pediatric cancer. It will include a 5K run/walk, 10K run and Cancer Survivors Walk. This will be the ninth year for Run to Fight at GCU.
Students on March 27 will pitch their business ideas in GCU’s signature business competition, the Canyon Challenge, which is modeled after ABC’s “Shark Tank.” In 2018, those students vied for $10,000 of seed money.
The theatre department’s final play of the year, “Godspell,” will run from March 22-24 and March 29-31 at Ethington Theatre. The play brings to life several Bible parables, mostly from the Gospel of Matthew, and features hit song “Day by Day.”
Also on COFAP’s schedule is the big “Broadway, Opera and Beyond” concert (7-9 p.m. March 7, First Southern Baptist Church).
GCU Arena will turn on the lights for the Roadshow Tour (6 p.m. March 10), with performances by some of the biggest names in Christian music: Matthew West, Tenth Avenue North, Matt Maher, Leanna Crawford and Michael W. Smith.
On March 6, the softball team will play a doubleheader against defending national champion Florida State at GCU Softball Stadium.
Other March highlights: GCU’s Hall of Fame induction on March 2, the College of Science, Engineering and Technology Symposium (10 a.m.-1 p.m. March 30, location to be determined), in which CSET and Honors students present their research and other projects. There’s also Career Week (various events March 5-7, campuswide), which will feature resume reviews, mock interviews and a job/internship fair).
The semester barrels forward in April, as the fine arts college kicks off the month with the Canyon Choral Society’s presentation of a beast of a classical music masterwork, Beethoven’s Ninth (7-9 p.m. April 4, First Southern Baptist Church). The concert will be followed by the COFAP Film Festival (6-9 p.m. April 5-7, Ethington Theatre), the Dance Department’s spring dance performance (April 12-14, Ethington Theatre), and the Design Students’ Senior Portfolio Showcase (April 23, time and location to be determined).
The Arena will follow up March’s Roadshow Tour with a concert by Tim Hawkins (7 p.m. April 7, GCU Arena), a Christian comedian, songwriter and singer who is known for his parodies of such songs as Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind.”
One of the most popular events on campus, Mr. GCU, will light up GCU Arena from 8-10 p.m. April 11. Students vie for the title via music and dance skits over two hours. This will be the 17th edition of Mr. GCU, attended in recent years by approximately 8,000 students each year.
The semester — and the 2018-19 academic calendar — will wrap up April 25-27 with three days of commencement ceremonies, with April 25 set aside for traditional students and April 26-27 for nontraditional Lopes. One of the things to note about commencement this year is that it’s the first year engineering graduates will walk the stage.
The term will end on April 28 as the sun sets on yet another big year for GCU.
Click here to see GCU Today’s Winter-Spring 2019 calendar.