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York College Heritage Magazine, Fall 2014 - Vol. 18, No. 1


  • Mark Smesrud 10 p Beyond 125 p Bartholomew Gift p Touchton Clubhouse p Alumni Awards p Night Lights

    A Treasured PastA Visionary Future




  • The mission of York College is to transform lives through

    Christ-centered education and to equip students for

    lifelong service to God, family and society.

    Looking over the contents of this Heritage, I am reminded of all the blessings God has provided us and all the successes He has allowed us to have. York has always been, and will always be, committed to spiritual growth and development. At the same time, winning traditions in a broad range of programs, including speech and communication, music and athletics, continue to build on a reputation of success for York College.

    Recently we hosted the presidents from our sister colleges and universities on the York College campus. Many had never been here before or had not been here in some time. They remarked about how beautiful the campus was and how well it was maintained, comments I am hearing more and more. One president commented on how respectful and well-behaved our students were in chapel as opposed to what he sometimes experiences on his campus. I was proud of our students and our campus culture.

    What stands out most to visitors is how engaged our campus is. Faculty are engaged with students. Students are engaged with each other. Performing groups are supported by the entire campus community. Athletic events are always well attended. Even junior varsity games, which are poorly attended at other schools, have strong support here. York College was honored recently by Lets Start Talking, a ministry to teach English in other countries using the Gospel of Luke as a text, for providing a greater percentage of students to the program than any other Christian college or university.

    This level of engagement encourages our graduates to get involved beyond their time here. You will see examples of that throughout this issue of Heritage. Mark Smesrud, Gary Bartholomew, Jason and Sarah Grounds--and so many others--represent the thousands of alumni of York College who have gone out from this place to engage in good works throughout the world.

    Winning traditions and engaged students and alumni who are dedicated to serving God. That pretty much sums up who we are, and who we have been for 125 years. Some things have changed over the decades, but I am very pleased to say that the spirit of York College is much as it ever was. We remain a place committed to transformation through Christ-centered education.

    You will also read in this issue about our recently launched Beyond 125 campaign. We are building on a strong foundation and moving boldly into the future with this effort. I am overwhelmed by the level of commitment we have already seen from our faculty and staff, alumni, and other friends of the college for this campaign.

    God is at work in this place and in the hearts of those that York College touches. It is an exciting time to be a Yorkie.

    Steve Eckman President

    York College kicks off Beyond 125 campaign with exciting news. pg. 6

    On The COver: Students raise their voices in song during chapel.

    photo by Chad Greene

    (above) Dr. Erin DeHart, associate professor of education, collaborates with students using the new classroom technology in Middlebrook Hall.

  • At 68 tall, Mike was known on the streets simply

    as Tower. When he started working at Purple Door Coffee at the age of 25, he had spent seven yearshis entire adult lifein prison.

    Though hed had short stints out of prison during those years, Mike had no home to go to when he was released. Homelessness and incarceration go hand in hand, especially for young men. Being homeless increases the likelihood of criminal activity; a

    criminal record makes it harder to find a place to live or work. Mike became trapped in this cycle of perpetual homelessness and incarceration.

    It was at Purple Door Coffee that Mikes life began to change. More than just a coffee shop, this Denver caf has a unique mission: to employ teens and young adults who are transitioning out of homelessness and to heal brokenness through the dignity that work provides. Purple Door co-directors Mark Smesrud 10 and Madison Chandler focus on teaching job skills applicable in any occupationcustomer service, punctuality, cleanliness, professionalismso that after one year of working at the coffee shop, their employees can graduate to a job in the real world.

    We provide the tools of community, accountability, love and grace that will help our employees on their journeys to a new life, says Mark. Purple

    Profile inExcellence

    ...continued next page

    In this issue:3 Mark Smesrud - Profile in Excellence6 Beyond 125 Campaign 8 Bartholomew Performing Arts Center

    10 Touchton Clubhouse 12 125th Anniversary Celebration14 Night Light Tulsa16 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction18 Alumni Awards20 Alumni News and Notes22 Milestones24 Panther Athletics 27 Student Spotlight28 Faculty News 30 York College Ranked 15th in Nation31 Around the Corner

    Heritage is a semi-annual publication for alumni and friends of York College. The magazine is available online at www.york.edu/alumni.

    Heritage Editor Vol. 18, No. 1Chrystal Houston 03Director of Alumni and Communication 402-363-5607 chrystal.houston@york.edu

    Assistant Editor/DesignSteddon Sikes 84Director of Publications

    Heritage ContributorsBob DeHart 95Erin (Beske 94) DeHart Stephen Colwell 05Tyler Cox 15

    Maegan (Simpson 13) DetlefsTrent Hinton 02Eryn Jacobson 16Emily Lutz 14

    In my Bible classes, I learned that theology must be rooted in love for others.

    (left) Mark Smesrud believes he is changing lives, one coffee at a time. Mark and business partner Madison Chandler celebrate with employee Jenna upon her GED graduation.

    Jake Hasenauer, senior physical education major from North Platte, Neb., and Brianna Bailey, senior vocal music education major from Wolverine Lake, Mich., were crowned this years Homecoming King and Queen.


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    The YC Theatre Department presented an hilarious melodrama during Homecoming weekend.


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  • 4 | Heritage | WINTER 2014

    In Excellence

    Door Coffee is committed to creating a loving, Jesus-centered community where every single individual is valued.

    Not long after he began working

    at Purple Door Coffee, Mike had an interaction with a difficult customer. Mike responded with anger and some colorful language. At any other job, he would likely have been dismissed on the spot.

    At Purple Door, this was a learning opportunity.

    Mark sat down with Mike and told him something Mike had never heard before: you are valued. We care enough about you to correct this behavior. We will show you the same grace and love that Jesus shows us.

    Over the course of the next year, the transformation in Mike was remarkable. At his graduation party, the majority of the nearly 50 guests present were his customers. The most common thing his customers said about Mike was how great

    he was at meeting their needs. Mike is the embodiment of all

    that Purple Door Coffee is striving to accomplish: Changing lives, one coffee at a time.

    Purple Door is a part of the Dry Bones Denver ministry, which serves the approximately 2,000 homeless teens and young adults in the area. Mark and Madison interned together at Dry Bones in 2009. It was then that they first started dreaming about a coffee shop to train homeless youth. Madison began working to make this dream a reality in 2010 and Mark joined her in the effort in 2012. After many months of fundraising, preparation and planning, the shop opened in April 2013.

    The kinks of starting a business are getting worked out and the shop is gaining momentum. Purple Door is developing a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. The caf has now

    We provide the tools of community, accountability, love and grace that will help our employees on their journeys to a new life.


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    , Ign

    ite Im


  • WINTER 2013 | Heritage | 5

    I know what Im doing is worthwhile and that it has immeasurable value.

    (above) A welcoming smile and great attitude are hallmarks of the Purple Door Coffee employees.

    (left) Madison and Mark partnered in the Purple Door after serving as interns in Dry Bones Denver ministry and seeing the needs of the homeless firsthand.

    WINTER 2014 | Heritage | 5

    employed six previously homeless young people; so far, two of those employees have graduated and moved on to other employment.

    It is very fulfilling, Mark says. I know what Im doing is worthwhile and that it has immeasurable value.

    Its so important to care for those on the fringes of society. Because theyre the ones who are frequently told that their soul does not have worth. So many of my friends on the street have never been told that they matter. That they are deserving of a good, healthy, beautiful life because of Jesus.

    This message of value is reinforced by the physical components of the caf. Located in the historic Five Points neighborhood, Purple Door Coffee is part of a movement toward urban renewal in an area that has seen better days. Mark and Madison took great pains in designing the shop. The space is classy and beautiful. Customers often comment on the natural light, bright paint, and unique fixtures, such as tables made from repurposed treadle

    sewing machines. And theres the purple fr