Business honor society inducts 110 more members
Story by Lana Sweeten-Shults
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau
Dr. Merri Pedersen looked at the bright, confident Grand Canyon University students in front of her and asked them: “You are the top 20% of your class. But I have another question for you. Have you figured out God’s purpose for your life?”
It was as if she stopped the world for a second as those students started to ponder their place in life before Pedersen shared her own story.
It was freshman year. She had just flunked out of political science and rushed home, crying and telling her mom, “I don’t think college is for me.”
Her mom told her, “You cannot quit. You are smart. You can do this … get back there,” she said, revealing that she, too, had flunked a course her freshman year.
Pedersen did just that.
She completed her degree, though years later, she still questioned her purpose. Then, after her children graduated from high school, she decided to change her life’s course and returned to school for her master’s degree.
That was when God led certain people into her life. “I realized that I loved learning and I loved teaching,” said Pedersen, who left the corporate world and, at long last, had found her passion.
She also found Grand Canyon University, where the business professor was inducted on Thursday as an honorary member of GCU’s Eta Chi chapter of international business society Delta Mu Delta.
Pedersen joined 110 students inducted into the organization during the spring 2022 ceremony. To be invited to join, students must have at least 24 Colangelo College of Business credits, be a junior or senior in the top 20% of their program, and be in good standing with the University.
“Membership in Delta Mu Delta is reserved for the best of the best, the cream of the crop,” said business professor Dr. Moronke Oke, chapter advisor, who spoke to a packed room of business faculty, inductees and their families. She said that earning the honor of membership into Delta Mu Delta “must be earned by faithful, earnest toil, by serious application to studies and by persistent application in scholastic work.”
A couple of the best of the best who attended the ceremony were Kawai’ula’iliahi Ruedy and Kiko Patcho. They were inducted into Delta Mu Delta just a day before they were scheduled to graduate with their bachelor’s degrees.
It wasn’t the first time the two shared the stage together. They did so, as well, as officers with GCU Hui Aloha, which celebrates Hawaiian culture. Patcho served as president and Ruedy as vice president, and an army of family from their home state of Hawaii attended the ceremony to cheer them on.
“We really think this induction is a great opportunity to show kids from Hawaii you guys can make it. It’s a really great honor to have excelled so much,” said Patcho, a marketing/advertising major.
Ruedy, a business management major, added that it was nice to know he had a support system in Delta Mu Delta post-graduation and that he would have scholarship opportunities if he decided to pursue a graduate degree.
Chapter vice president Daniel Griffin noted other benefits to being a member of the organization, such as enabling members to start government careers at a higher level of salary.
Colangelo College of Business Dean Dr. Randy Gibb emphasized in his address to students that business is a force for good to elevate humanity.
“We need problems solved in society,” he continued. “Government cannot do it alone; we need business to do it.”
He also noted how business is a form of ministry: “If you can live and work in a place where you feel loved, valued, engaged and respected, and that company can become like a healing organization, then again, the world is a better place,” he said, before receiving inductees alongside Oke and Dr. Henry Cooper, supporting faculty member for Eta Chi.
The Eta Chi chapter of Delta Mu Delta, which earned national recognition in 2020 when it won the Anthony J. Jablonsky Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award, continues to make itself known on campus.
The chapter hosts the Kevin McClean Research Colloquium, has organized blood drives over the past two years and has served such organizations as Feed My Starving Children, Habitat for Humanity and St. Vincent de Paul, said chapter secretary/treasurer Arsibeth Fernandez.
The organization’s leaders and advisors not only honored inductees at Thursday’s ceremony but recognized outgoing senior officers who are graduating Friday: president Elise Martinson, vice president Jacob Haller, secretary/treasurer Delia Van Heukelem, communications coordinator Connor Hess and club fair coordinator Torie Wolf.
Van Heukelem said the organization helped her improve her public speaking skills and event planning. Hess attributed his involvement with Delta Mu Delta to helping him land his first post-college job. And Wolf, who embraced her entrepreneurial sprit while at GCU (she started her own hair sparkling and nanny enterprises), told attendees, “You’re never too young to start your business.”
Wolf added how being in Delta Mu Delta “let me get to know my faculty on a more personal level … and see how they overcame challenges.”
Throughout her time at GCU, she said, she never felt alone in her academic pursuits. “There are so many people working to help you; all you have to do is ask.”
With that kind of support, students are well on their way to finding their passions.
GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-7901.