Summer 2014: Campus News

Jun. 6, 2014 - by Kelly Chesley


Campus News

July 1, 2014

8th Annual MLK Celebration Honors Nazarene Civil Rights Leader

MNU honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at its eighth annual Community Celebration Jan. 21. Civil rights leader and pastor Dr. Charles Johnson was awarded the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Living Legacy Award. Johnson's 52-year career as a minister and community leader in Meridian, Miss., put him in the path of the famous Mississippi Burning trial. As a key African American witness in the case, Johnson played an important role for the federal Justice Department, offering clarity to the event that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The founder of the Meridian Action Committee, the Opportunities Industrialization Center, and pastor of Fitkin's Memorial Church of the Nazarene in Meridian, Johnson shared a platform with King, traveled with him, and led a march through Meridian following King's assassination in 1968. Johnson later received a presidential appointment to the National Manpower Board by President Jimmy Carter.

Johnson's remarks at the celebration were well received by an audience of more than 1,000. Giving three main points, he said that dreams should be God-inspired, that dreams can put you in danger (but being in God's will is the safest place), and that dreams don't make you popular but if you fulfill the dream God plans for you, you have found success.

"God is calling us to stand up for what is right and not what is popular," he said.

Photo above: Dr. Charles Johnson's civil rights experience is the subject of Called to The Fire by Chet Bush (left). Bush and Johnson (middle), with his wife, Shirley, also appeared at an author's lecture and book signing at MNU's Mabee Library.

Gordan McDonald Imparts Wisdom from 40 Years of Ministry

MNU’s Sullivan Center hosted a two-day conference with Gordon MacDonald Feb. 25. The author, speaker and teacher has been a pastor for more than 40 years. Presenting thoughts on how a leader charts his/her course through a lifetime of ministry, MacDonald shared his passion to create a culture of personal growth and development for younger leaders in the church.

MacDonald has written more than 20 books, including his best-known Ordering Your Private World, which won the Gold Medallion and the Platinum awards from the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association.

MNU events are chronicled on Flickr. Visit our gallery at

Case Award

MNU Website Honored with National Award

Update to Accent print version.

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s website has won a national Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence Bronze Award for Best Institutional Website. MNU is the only college or university in the state of Kansas to receive a Circle of Excellence award in any category in the 2014 awards. More than 3,000 entries were judged in all categories.

According to Kim Campbell, director of marketing, the university is recognized alongside larger institutions in the category. Additionally, the current website was developed entirely in-house by MNU’s marketing team.

“We are very honored for our in-house project to be recognized with a group of well-known schools within this category, including University of Nebraska-LincolnKenyon College, and Davidson College,” Campbell said.

In January 2014 MNU won six CASE District VI awards at the District VI conference in Kansas City, Mo., including a gold award for the MNU website. All six projects that won were developed by the internal marketing team at MNU.

MNU Provost Mary Jones, PhD, says the level of national recognition received with the latest award is significant due to the peer review aspect of the Circle of Excellence awards.

“When professionals at other institutions judge your work to be superior it lends real weight to the award,” Jones said. “More importantly, we feel this award affirms our hard work to communicate with our audience in ways that resonate with them and represent the best practices in web design for higher education.”

Read more about how MNU’s marketing team designed the current website.

CASE is an international professional association of educational institutions serving institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.


Nursing Lab

Nursing Lab Renewal and Expansion

The nursing skills lab in Cook Center was recently expanded and updated with the help of two financial gifts. A grant of $84,980 from the John W. and Effie E. Speas Memorial Trust, Bank of America, Trustee, purchased new equipment that helps nursing students train on the same equipment they will use in a hospital or doctor’s office. Among the many items purchased were five wall-mounted diagnostic systems with equipment used to examine patients’ eyes, noses and ears; 11 patient headwalls that control the application or use of oxygen and suction; 10 units of oxygen supply tubes; six IV pumps; and four IVs for practicing insertion of IVs into forearms.

Olathe Medical Center (OMC) has also donated $150,000 to MNU to enhance the nursing program and to assist in the development and continual improvement of nursing labs. The lab renewal will allow nursing students to gain valuable preparation for clinical experiences as well as their future careers.

New Programs and Majors

MNU and Olivet Nazarene University have announced a collaborative partnership to offer a Doctor of Education in ethical leadership degree program on the MNU campus. Associates of MNU and qualified applicants throughout the surrounding region will gain convenient access to this challenging, three-year doctoral program that is designed to meet the needs of today’s leaders, regardless of their chosen career fields. Graduates will earn their degrees through Olivet.

A new recreation and leisure studies major focuses on improving health and wellness within communities, conservation of open space and parks, and ensuring all people have access to the benefits of local parks and recreation programs. 

Students will learn to develop, evaluate and direct recreational and intramural programs, activity groups, programs that support veterans and disabled individuals, and outdoor leadership programs.

The new interdisciplinary children and family ministry major is the result of a partnership between MNU’s Department of Christian Ministry and Formation and its School of Education. The major will emphasize practical points of common practice between these two areas as they relate to children’s education in both Christian and public arenas.

Visit to learn more about these programs. 


The Pre-Med Committee in the Department of Science and Mathematics reports that for the second year in a row, 100% of their 2014 graduates who applied to a professional program were accepted.

Graduate Program
Kyle Ford University of Iowa College of Dentistry
Matthew Eastford The University of Minnesota Chemistry Graduate Program
Donnie MacLeod Southwest Baptist University Department of Physical Therapy
Lynsey Gustafson University of Kansas School of Pharmacy

Grant Preserves Precious Artifacts 

The Johnson County Heritage Trust Fund awarded the Marge Smith Archives $15,000 in October 2013, to control the temperature and humidity in the archives and rare book rooms. 

“With the addition of the climate control, the Marge Smith Archives has achieved a level of preservation that puts us on a par with other archival institutions,” said Lon Dagley, university archivist. 

The archives collections are sensitive to swings in temperature and humidity. If the humidity is too low, paper and photos become brittle and break. On the other end of the spectrum, if the humidity is too high, mold and mildew can damage the collections.

“Without grants like this one from the Johnson County Heritage Trust Fund, the Marge Smith Archives would not be able to make the significant improvements in long-term preservation it needs,” Dagley said.

Vennard College alumni also contributed to the project to extend the climate control measures to the Vennard College Archives which is adjacent to MNU’s Marge Smith Archives.

This Geneva Bible published in 1599 is part of the Marge Smith Archives. The Bible was donated by Dr. James Dobson, Jr., in memory of his father, James Dobson, Sr., a former art professor at MNU.

Little Women Production

MNU’s spring production of Little Women starred Lindsay Crabtree, a senior from Olathe, Kan., as Amy March; Lindsay Lovejoy, a senior from Carbondale, Kan., as Jo March; Kelsey Kersten, a sophomore from Olathe, Kan., as Mrs. March; Savannah Hoit, a junior from Merriam, Kan., as Meg; and Kensi Kitsmiller, a sophomore from Nevada, Mo., as Beth.



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Latest Photos
IMG_0348 Bomb squad members show MNU class the squad truck.
IMG_0349 Dr. Jeff DeGraffenreid (not shown) a '96 MNU alum, is Chief of the Fire Department & Dir. of Emergency Services in Olathe.
IMG_0350 Bomb squad members show MNU class the squad truck.
IMG_0351 Bomb squad members show MNU class the squad truck.
IMG_0352 The department is scheduled to receive a new $1.2 million truck soon.
IMG_0357 Squad members are expert firefighters and take extensive additional training to join the bomb squad.