Ready, set, go: GCU poised to spring into new year

GCU is hoping for big things in 2022 as men's basketball aims for a repeat WAC championship and signature events such as Mr. GCU, Forensic Science Day, TEDxGCU and Culture Fest return to form.

GCU News Bureau

In 2021, the pandemic decided to stick around a bit longer, launching new variants just because.

Olivia Rodrigo brought on teen angst, BTS was smooth like butter and the “Squid Game” made us rethink our favorite childhood pastimes.

At long last, the Tokyo Olympics finally happened, with GCU being represented by Emily Muteti and Talita Te Flan from the swimming and diving team and by Maceo Brown, a men’s rugby alumnus. Also in sports, Gonzaga beat UCLA in the the NCAA tournament semifinals in what has been called one of the greatest games in Final Four history.

Then in October, Capt. James T. Kirk went to space, or rather, 90-year-old “Star Trek” actor William Shatner made his way to the stars. He became a real space traveler on a Blue Origin flight in a year heavily focused on space travel.

Of course, 2021 saw much more, but we thought we’d turn our attention to 2022. It’s time to break out your new planners and start filling out a few dates, and we’ve picked out a dozen highlights for spring 2022 from the Grand Canyon University calendar. Also, don’t forget to check out news.gcu.edu throughout the year for the campus’ most extensive event listings and all the latest campus news:

CHAPEL SEASON KICK-OFF. The Chapel season launches as it traditionally does, with a talk and welcome-back address from GCU President Brian Mueller. Click here to see the schedule of speakers for the rest of the semester. 11 a.m. Jan. 10, GCU Arena.

Students will roll back into the academic year at one of the first social events of the season, Casino Night, on Jan. 10.

CASINO NIGHT. Bond, James Bond, might not be there, but plenty of students will be dressed to impress and ready to try their luck at various casino-style games. No worries, there’s no money involved in this just-for-fun social evening organized by the Canyon Activities Board Special Events team. 7-10 p.m. Jan. 11, GCU Arena.

“THE LADY’S NOT FOR BURNING.” The GCU Theatre Department kicked off the 2021-22 academic year with “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” “Radium Girls” and “The Addams Family.” It will continue its season with “The Lady’s Not For Burning.” The Christopher Fry romantic comedy is about a road-weary, discharged soldier who falls for an innocent woman set to be hanged for witchcraft. The play will join “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and the Spring Dance Concert, “Testimony,” which also are coming up this semester. Here’s our story about the Ethington Theatre 2021-22 season. “The Lady’s Not For Burning, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 11-13 and Feb. 18-20, Ethington Theatre.

Twice-a-year student icebreaker Project L attracted a huge crowd during Welcome Week. The Diversity and Inclusion Department hopes for the same kind of response in January.

PROJECT L: Students came out in droves for Project L during Welcome Week, and the Diversity and Inclusion Department is kicking off the new semester in a similar fashion for the spring iteration of Project L. The twice-a-year student icebreaker is designed to bring students together and help build friendships. 5-7 p.m. Jan. 13, Antelope Gymnasium.

FORENSIC SCIENCE DAY. Move over “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” GCU is blowing the lid off forensic science by giving high school juniors and seniors and community college students a real look at what the field entails. They will have the opportunity to check out fingerprint and handwriting analyses, observe blood spatter reconstruction, tour DNA labs, view real human cadavers in the dissection lab, watch live police dog demonstrations, learn about the University’s STEM programs and more. Click here to read GCU Today’s story about Forensic Science Day from 2020. 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 15, various campus locations.

Jovan Blacksher Jr. and the rest of the men's basketball team will play New Mexico State in February.

MEN’S BASKETBALL VS. NEW MEXICO STATE. Men’s basketball is doing splendidly this season with some impressive wins, including a recent big win against previously undefeated San Francisco at the Colangelo Classic. The team aims to repeat as the WAC men’s basketball champion. One of the big games will be against rival New Mexico State as the Lopes prep for the WAC Tournament at Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena in March. 6 p.m. Feb. 19, GCU Arena.

Jard Cassell takes his bow as Mr. GCU earlier this year. The new Mr. GCU will be crowned March 1.

MR. GCU, as always, turns the world of beauty pageants on its ear as the gents of GCU take to the stage to show off their singing, dancing, reciting of the alphabet and other talents – and to answer some tough questions. The popular Canyon Activities Board event is guaranteed to draw a big crowd. Here is the story from last year’s Mr. GCU. 8-10 p.m. March 1, GCU Arena.

CULTURE FEST. GCU is nestled in west Phoenix, the most culturally diverse part of the city. It’s a neighborhood of immigrants, where 45 languages are spoken within a 5-mile radius. The University reflects the neighborhood’s colorful tapestry, touting students from more than 80 cultures and countries. Culture Fest, to be presented by the Diversity and Inclusion Department, will highlight that diversity with about 30 tables, international food and performances. Check out the story from 2021 here. 5-8 p.m. March 10, GCU Arena.

SPRING CANYON CHALLENGE. Student entrepreneurs will get a boost in this competition, which awards a cash prize to the student with the most impressive business idea. The last Canyon Challenge winner was Jayce Candrea’s Washed Clothing (see the story here). The event is sponsored by Trinity Capital. April 1, Canyon Ventures.

Tyson Motsenbocker wrapped up TEDxGCU in 2021. The next TEDxGCU is April 8.

TEDxGCU. Thought leaders will be headed to campus this spring to provide a little motivation and a lot of inspiration to students at this event, which unlike other TEDx events, is entirely produced by students. TEDxGCU will feature six yet-to-be-announced speakers and two performers. Read about the 2021 TEDxGCU here. 5-9 p.m. April 8, GCU Arena.

SPRING COMMENCEMENT. The whole year leads up to this, when our students’ academic careers culminate in this one moment. It has been a big year for Commencement ceremonies at GCU with regular fall, winter and spring ceremonies joined by seven makeup sessions to celebrate students who did not get to walk across the stage in person because of the pandemic. Here are the slideshows from the Winter 2021 Commencement Friday afternoon ceremony and Friday evening ceremony. They feature the photos of GCU staff photographer Ralph Freso, with links to a video and to stories by our staff writers. 7 p.m. April 21 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 22, GCU Arena.

For King and Country will perform at GCU Arena in May.

FOR KING & COUNTRY. GCU Arena is returning to hosting big entertainment events after the pandemic meant the cancellation of many of those events, including concerts. Christian pop duo Joel and Luke Smallbone of For King & Country will perform at the venue in May. They are on their “What Are We Waiting For?” Tour. 7 p.m. May 5, GCU Arena.

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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 
Romans 8:28