Congratulations to the Donald J. Tschetter Servant Leadership Award Winners

Congratulations to the Donald J. Tschetter Servant Leadership Award Winners

Each year, Grace University faculty select the graduating man and woman who exemplify well-balanced Christian character, outstanding scholarship, and spiritual leadership consistent with the high ideals of Grace University. 

As the winners of this important award, Hunter McNeel, Christian Ministry, and Elisa Castillo, Music Education, were presented with a symbol of the Servant Leadership pyramid of Grace University for showing strong evidence of the following seven characteristics:

  1. A biblically literate student.
  2. A critical thinker.
  3. An obedient disciple of Jesus Christ.
  4. An engaging citizen.
  5. A compassionate leader.
  6. A global Christian.
  7. An equipped professional.

As part of the award process, recipients shared how Grace University helped transform them and identified some of these distinctives that have come true in their lives. 

Hunter shared, “There is nothing that our God cannot do. I have met people from around this world; and with all these people I hear the LORD’s love for them and His plan for them. God is moving around the world in ways beyond us, and I thank God for giving me such globally minded people at Grace to show me this awesome God that I am getting to know.”

Elisa followed with, “If I could summarize the greatest thing I learned during my time at Grace I would say: I learned that only someone who is an obedient disciple of Jesus, who has a surrendered heart, can experience abundant life, the kind of life God intends for us to have. And it is only when we have that kind of heart that other good goals, such as being biblically literate or an equipped professional, make total sense and can be fully met.”

This special award was established to honor Donald J. Tschetter who embodied the University’s mission and faithfully served the Lord at Grace University for 49 years from 1958 through 2007. In honor of their father, the children of Donald J. Tschetter presented the recipients with a financial award.


An Important Message from Dr. Jim Eckman

Dear alumni and friends,

Change is not something I especially appreciate. I love life when it is stable, predictable and orderly. But living in a fallen, broken world means that change is the norm and instability, temporary dysfunction and re-orientation more frequent than we desire. Grace University is undergoing one of those periods of change and instability. David Barnes has resigned as president and the Board of Trustees has asked me to re-engage with Grace. I retired nearly four years ago and have developed a number of ministries in which I am deeply involved. In addition to my adjunct teaching, I am on staff at my church part time and intensely involved in teaching four Bible studies throughout Metro Omaha. I am also engaged in several writing projects and in a mentoring ministry. However, I love Grace University, having devoted a significant portion of my adult life to this ministry. So, I have agreed to advise the Trustee Board and assume a leadership role in development at Grace.

The faculty and staff of Grace University remain deeply committed to the mission of Grace: To develop servant leaders for the home, the church and the world through excellence in biblically-integrated education and through life change in a personal, discipling environment, all for the glory of God.To sustain this mission, the Board has embarked upon a significant re-structuring and re-organizing of the University, and has also launched a critical analysis of nearly every aspect of the University. jim-eckmanFor example, the Board is assessing Grace’s entire athletic program, which grew significantly over the last three years. Further, the Board is analyzing the scholarship and discounting-of-tuition program at the undergraduate level, which has also grown over the last three years. The Board strongly believes that significant changes need to occur in each of these areas, which will necessitate additional adjustments and the re-allocation of University funds.

As President Emeritus, I remain deeply committed to Grace’s mission, to the faculty and staff, and to the students, both undergraduate and graduate. I have continued to teach at Grace as an adjunct professor and have led mentoring groups with some of the men at Grace. In dependence on the Lord, the future of Grace is bright. We are graduating 97 students this year, who will be change-agents for Christ. Graduate and adult-learner enrollment for fall looks strong as do key undergraduate programs. Over the years, through your prayers and your gifts, you have demonstrated support for the mission of Grace University. I am asking you to heighten that support. We need you to partner with us in meeting the financial needs of Grace for these upcoming summer months. Our need is quite significant and I am inviting you to do two things for me:

  • Commit to praying for Grace daily this summer. Pray for the Board as they analyze and reorganize each aspect of the University. Pray for our faculty as they teach, prepare and invest in our students. Pray that God will provide out of His abundant grace the funds needed for the critical summer months.
  • Commit to a sacrificial gift to Grace University to sustain the school during these summer months. I am asking you to be as generous as you can possibly be to meet this need.

Thank you so much for your prayers and your financial support of Grace University. We are doing important and eternally significant Kingdom work at Grace. Your partnership with us in this ministry will yield eternal dividends for God’s Kingdom work at Grace University. Thank you.

In His mighty grasp,

James P. Eckman, Ph.D.
President Emeritus

Opportunities for Veterans at Grace University

Thank you. Two words not uttered enough today – especially to those who selflessly gave their time and talents to serve our country. Veterans, Grace University thanks you. Now, let us serve you – online or on campus.

“At Grace, veterans will get individualized attention and support to further develop and employ their talents in service and leadership,” said Jim Santoro, Air Force veteran and Dean of Grace University’s Adult Degree Completion Program. “Our mission is to develop servant leaders who will take their faith into their professions.”

In addition to having full-time veteran counselors on staff, Grace offers free tutoring for veterans and hosts a Student Veterans Association chapter on campus.

“We are very proud to be recognized as a Military Friendly school,” adds Santoro.

Grace University offers ACE credit for training and experiences as well as CLEP and/or DSST exams. This allows students to complete their degree sooner and with less out-of-pocket expense. Scholarships and tuition discounts are also available.

The School of Professional and Graduate Studies offers online and on campus bachelor’s degrees in Business Leadership, Ministry Studies, and Psychology in the Adult Degree Completion Program. Graduate students can earn master’s degrees in Education, Teaching, Counseling (concentrations in clinical mental health counseling and school counseling) and Christian Ministries (concentrations in biblical studies, theological studies, ministry leadership, counseling ministry and rural church ministry).

To learn more about how to earn credit for your military experiences and earn your degree, call 402-449-2826 or click here.

Grace University, located in Omaha, Neb., is a regionally accredited, private Christian university with more than 40 diverse undergraduate, graduate and adult degree completion programs including education, business, psychology, music, nursing and Christian ministries. The university’s mission is to develop servant leaders for the home, the church and the world through excellence in biblically integrated education.

The Professional Benefits of Completing Your Degree at Grace University

Maybe you’ve been contemplating completing your degree for a while now, but aren’t quite sure if the time and financial investments are worth it. Let us tell you, there’s never been a better time to finish your bachelor’s degree online or oncampus at Grace University.  Here are three reasons why:

1. Relationships

The Adult Degree Completion program at Grace University uses a cohort style of learning. That means as you advance through your program, you’ll be working primarily with the same group of students. The relationships you will build with your cohort peers will provide you with a new network of professionals in your field. In addition, collaboration and teamwork brings the group together, building trust and a personal connection that will last well beyond graduation day.

2. A New Point of View

Completing your degree will not only help you advance in your current career or begin a new career, it will also bring a new point of view to your life. In the Adult Degree Completion program, students learn the newest ideas and strategies in their field of study. As you flex your critical thinking skills within your cohort groups, you’ll also be better apt to lead and communicate within your current position and employee team.

3. Leadership Development

Grace University’s mission is to develop servant leaders who will take their faith into their professions. The faculty are dedicated to strengthening your leadership skills and willing to help as you balance your professional, family and student life. Your time management skills will be sharpened as you build your schedule around work, studies and family – making you more efficient personally and professionally after graduation.

To learn more about how to earn credit for your life experiences and earn your bachelor’s degree online or on campus, call 402-449-2826 or visit

Grace University, located in Omaha, Neb., is regionally accredited as well as accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) as a private Christian university. Education opportunities abound with more than 40 diverse undergraduate, graduate and adult degree completion programs including education, business, psychology, professional counseling, music, nursing and Christian ministries. The university’s mission is to develop servant leaders for the home, the church and the world through excellence in biblically integrated education.

Balancing School … and Everything Else?!?

It can seem like an impossible task. You know you are supposed to go back to school, but how can you when it feels like every minute of the day is already taken up with responsibilities to church, work and family? How can you balance it all?

At Grace University we understand the priorities in your life and the demands on your time. Our academic counselors and professors are prepared to work with you and pray with you as your return to school to reach God’s call on your life. Some helpful hints include:

  • Get organized. Make a designated study space. Have one place in your home or office that contains all of your course materials so you can stay organized.
  • Schedule your priorities. Of course you need to schedule study time and make note of major papers and projects on your calendar. But also put down other priorities such as your kid’s soccer game and date night and make sure you make time for God.
  • Involve your family. Going back to school is a family affair, so make sure they understand why you are going back to school and help them be a part of the experience. Study with your kids when they are doing their homework and model the importance of education.
  • Communicate. Keep the lines of communication open. Share your struggles and successes with your family and professors so they know how they can support you.

Going back to school is not easy, but the rewards are worth it! Contact the School of Professional & Graduate Studies or call (402)449-2826 for more information on online degree programs in Business Leadership, Psychology and Ministry Studies and take the next step today.