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:
- A biblically literate student.
- A critical thinker.
- An obedient disciple of Jesus Christ.
- An engaging citizen.
- A compassionate leader.
- A global Christian.
- 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.
The summer months are normally quiet months for academic institutions—but not so at Grace University. The Trustee Board has taken decisive action to reemphasize Grace’s historic mission and to “right the ship” of Grace financially. To that end, the Board has appointed Dr. John Holmes as Interim President. John has been a professor at Grace, served as Academic Vice President and is a gifted teacher and communicator. John is a breath of fresh air in terms of leadership. The Board has also asked Bill Bauhard, a retired Omaha businessman, to serve in the role as Chief Executive Officer, overseeing personnel, finance and operational issues at Grace. Bill has served on the Board of Trustees and also as Grace’s Executive Vice President. Bill brings a sharp mind and proven skills, so necessary in dealing with the financial challenges facing Grace. It is exciting to see two such gifted men assuming these crucial roles at Grace. Please be in prayer for both of them.
One further note: The Board has also begun re-organizing and retooling itself as the governing board of Grace. Carlon Tschetter, Grace graduate and senior pastor of Covenant Community Church near Oklahoma City, is the new chairman of the board. Carlon brings a passion for Grace, for its mission and for its future. Please also be in prayer for Carlon and the rest of the Board.
Finally, you, our partners in the mission of Grace University, also play a strategic role in “righting the ship” of Grace. As I mentioned, please pray for these leaders and for our faculty and staff in this time of transition. We all need God’s grace and enablement. Would you also pray for our students, both returning and those newly enrolled at Grace? The faculty is as committed as ever to pursuing “academic excellence and life change” with our students. Your financial support is an essential component in all of this. Please be as generous as you can with your financial support. On behalf of our leadership team, our faculty and staff, and our students, thank you for your eternally significant investment!
In His mighty grasp,
James P. Eckman, Ph.D.
President Emeritus, Grace University
Dear fellow classmates, former students and friends:
I am excited to let you know that during the recent Board of Trustees meeting the Trustees voted unanimously to appoint me as the interim president of Grace University. I accepted the position with eager anticipation. You may be aware that we are undergoing a period of transformation at Grace. But you are not aware of the many things that God is doing behind the scenes to launch us into a stable future. More on that later (but it is really exciting). We are not just looking to survive in the difficult landscape of Christian higher education, but our goal is to thrive.
Many of you have sat in class next to me, been taught by me, or served with me. Some of you have been backpacking and/or rock climbing with me. You know my commitment to Christ, His amazing grace, this school and my passion for its mission. The past few months have been challenging at Grace University and we have been blessed to see God move in what I would call specific and unusual ways. Chuck Swindoll once said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” We truly have a great opportunity before us as we analyze and restructure the University so that we can continue to train and develop the next generation of servant leaders.
Over the next few months, you will be receiving updates from Dr. Jim Eckman, president emeritus, and me asking for your support in tangible and intangible ways. I ask that you serve, pray and give as the Lord moves. When Paul spoke to the Church in Corinth, he reminded them “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). Paul’s words are relevant to us today. As you hear news from Grace, can I count on you to stand firm with us in our mission and continue with us in the kingdom work that we have been faithfully engaged in for the last 73 years?
I am optimistic about our future. Our leadership team has responsive hearts, the technical skills, and history with the school to serve our historic mission well. The students I have had in my classes recently have been great examples of the servant leaders we seek to produce. I am humbled and excited about the task set before us and thank you in advance for your support and prayers. This ministry has been going strong for almost 75 years, and I cannot wait to see how God moves in the next 75 years (even if I’m not around to witness it).
For His kingdom,
John D. Holmes, Th.M., Ph.D.
Junior and Senior High School students are invited to Join us for an exciting week of improving your singing, dancing, and acting — all from a Christian perspective! The camp is limited to 40 attendees so you will get personalized instruction as you spend the week learning stage fundamentals and preparing for a production. The week will culminate in a final performance held in the Suckau Chapel on the Grace University campus, Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m. Students will get to experience life on campus as they stay in the dormitories and do fun activities in Omaha.
Date: June 5-10th
Location: Grace University, 1311 S. 9th St., Omaha
(includes lodging, meals, and special activities)
• Duet Scene Study
• Stage Combat
• Talent Show
• Storm-Chasers Game
• Karaoke Night
• Game Night
• Final Performance
We can’t wait to see you at camp! To register, go to https://www.graceuniversity.edu/events/musical-theatre-camp/
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. For 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.