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IWU honors Gary and Connie Ott at naming ceremony

DSC_0360Indiana Wesleyan University held its naming ceremony for the Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m in the building’s foyer. The ceremony honored Gary and Connie Ott, Marion College (now IWU) graduates who contributed financially to the school’s health science and nursing initiatives. Gary also serves on IWU’s Board of Trustees.

The Otts both graduated from Marion College in 1974. Gary received his bachelor’s degree in economics and business, while Connie received her bachelor’s degree in sociology.

Gary said he first met Connie during their freshman year after she made an announcement in the student center.

“One day she walked in and announced to everybody in the student center, ‘Is there anyone who wants to go running with me?’” Gary said. “All of a sudden, I became a runner.”

The Otts married in 1975 and have three children. Two of them attended IWU, Bradley (alumnus ‘03) and Jennifer (alumna ‘05). Ryan went to Taylor University, but he now serves on the IWU Citizens’ Advisory Council.

Gary is now president and CEO of TLC Management, Inc. a provider of health and rehabilitation centers, assisted living and retirement centers and hospice services.

However, he didn’t start his career in health care. He wanted to be a pilot after college, and joined the military to continue that passion. After graduating from the academy, he worked for Texas Instruments.

Gary then took a job as a pilot back in Marion, where he grew up. His mother had recently died and he felt he needed to be close to his family.

After only six months at the flying job, the company went bankrupt. Gary went without a job for nine months, and he said he kept his options very open.

“I prayed to God and said, ‘Please give me a job. I’ll do anything, I’ll even work in a nursing home,’” Gary said.

God answered his prayer, and Gary found a job at a nursing home. He eventually worked his way up to an administrative position at the Wesleyan Health Care Center, owned by Marion College at the time.

But Marion College decided to sell the nursing home. And Gary wanted to buy it.

With Larry Maxwell and his brother John (IWU’s Maxwell Center’s namesake) financially backing him, Gary bought the nursing home.

Now, Gary has turned that one nursing home into 20 under TLC Management, with 3,000 employees in Indiana and Florida.

“I kind of feel like a turtle on a fence post,” Gary said. “I know I didn’t get here on my own, someone had to lift me up and set me there. I give a lot of credit to how God worked this all out.”

Connie has supported Gary in his business, doing social work in TLC’s nursing homes at various points. She has also worked as a preschool teacher.

“I love people, and it doesn’t matter if they are young or old,” Connie said.


Dr. Keith Newman, IWU’s executive vice president  said the Otts saw an opportunity to support the school during the building’s construction. But the Otts weren’t seeking recognition for it.

“The honor isn’t something that they sought, but the building did give us a great opportunity to honor them,” Newman said.

The Otts’ character was also something that Newman said made them a good choice for the naming.

“When I think about the Otts, I think about people of faith. They’ve translated what they believe in their heart to what they do with their hands,” said Newman.

Gary stressed that he was just a normal person that God blessed in amazing ways.

“[During college], we were just ordinary people. We weren’t on the dean’s list or anything, we just felt like ordinary students like how many students probably feel today,” Gary said. “We’ve been very blessed, and we like to give some of our blessing back.”

Connie offered her final words of advice to students, stressing the importance of following God’s plan.

“Stay true to the Lord,” Connie said. “He has to be the one that guides your life.”

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University reconsiders PE shirt policy

Uniforms in college?

This is the question some faculty members in the Division of Health and Human Performance are asking concerning the gray Indiana Wesleyan University Physical Education shirts required for courses.

“I haven’t really been receiving complaints from students, though, [a faculty member] suggested it’s expensive for students to be buying shirts,” said Dr. Mike Fratzke, chair for division of health and human performance. “I don’t know about that, people buy t-shirts all the time, but it’s definitely something we’re going to look at again at our division meeting.”

Although in the past the shirts were a strict rule across the board for all PE courses, it is a policy that has been subject to change over the years. Certain classes are now exempt of this rule, depending upon what makes the most sense for the specific activity, according to Fratzke.

“If you’re taking a canoeing class, you would want to wear a hooded sweatshirt with the kind of weather we’re having. The shirts are more for classes [like] walk, jog, run, badminton, racquetball,” said Fratzke.

According to Fratzke, modesty, freedom of movement and “avoiding a fashion contest among students” were the three main reasons the shirts were made mandatory to begin with.

“It has a very professional look when people go out on a court and everyone looks the same, no one is standing out, no one’s drawing attention to themselves,” said Fratzke.

IWU track team member Bethany Bailey (fr) said she sees how a uniform brings unity to the court, but doesn’t think students should have to pay $12 for a shirt that they will only use for half a semester.

“It would be better if everyone just wore a regular t-shirt.” Bailey said. “Though I do like the design, it at least doesn’t look like some silly old gym shirt.”

As it now stands, the division makes all decisions regarding what students wear to different PE classes, not professors, according to Fratzke.

Fratzke confirmed this is a policy always standardized by classes, and is not supposed to be left up to the discretion of the professor. All sections of the same class are expected to obey, and if not are considered to be in “violation of policy in the division.”

Fratzke said one of the considerations of not requiring t-shirts would affect the bookstore, since the store orders and sells the t-shirts to students.

Though Fratzke does not seem to think it extremely likely that the shirts will be completely removed from the program, students can at least keep an eye out for slightly more flexible rules in more PE classes next semester.

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Switchfoot comes to IWU for second time

switchfoot_img01_hiresFive California surfers turned musicians will travel to Marion, Ind. April 4 to share songs about experiencing the world.

Switchfoot last came to Indiana Wesleyan University in spring 2010 when the Chapel-Auditorium opened for the first time. Now four years later, they’ve released their ninth studio album, “Fading West.”

The band will headline the 8 p.m. concert for Fusion, a youth event hosted by IWU, alongside music by the Brandon Grissom Band, Jordan Brown (alumna ‘12) and a dance performance by Momentum.

This concert is in the midst of Switchfoot’s Fading West tour that began in September 2013. Chad Butler, Switchfoot’s drummer, says some of the band’s best shows have happened in small towns on the tour.

“In those big cities, they get concerts every night,” Butler says. “And then sometimes in the smaller towns, the music is more appreciated.”

Butler is one of the original three Switchfoot members, alongside brothers Jon and Tim Foreman. Even after spending 17 years together and the additions of Jerome Fontamillis and Drew Shirley, Butler says it’s still fun.

“It’s such a gift,” Butler says. “Every morning I wake up and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to play music that I believe in with people I love.”

And now, the band has done something completely different than ever before — starred in a documentary.

“We picked our favorite places around the planet that had good surfing and went to look for new musical inspiration and chase waves around the world,” Butler says.

The documentary is called “Fading West,” just like the album, and follows the band through their 2012 World Tour. Butler says this it’s the biggest project Switchfoot has ever done in their almost two decades of music. All of the songs on their newest album are based off places they visited.

“It’s a documentary about music and surfing, but it’s also a look behind the scenes to the humanity and the brotherhood that we have in the band,” Butler says. “It has a real heart beat and I think it’s a human story that anybody can relate to.”

Since the documentary focused on one year of the band’s life, they were able to travel throughout the world and wherever they wanted. Butler says Indonesia and South Africa were his two favorite places.

In Capetown, South Africa, the band visited a children’s choir called the Kuyasa Kids. These children became orphans because of AIDS. It was Switchfoot’s second time visiting them and on the “Fading West” album, they’re featured in the song “The World You Want.”

“So these kids, they have a really difficult circumstance, and yet they have so much hope in their eyes,” Butler says. “And we were really inspired working with them … We have a lot to learn from them.”

According to Butler, the band has always had a heart for kids. For the past 10 years, Switchfoot has hosted a concert and surf contest called Switchfoot Bro-Am during the summer. All funds raised at the event through vendors, sponsorships and an auction benefit San Diego children’s charities.

“Kids are really important to us,” Butler says. “I feel like we’ve been given so much and music has given us such an opportunity. We look for opportunities to give back to shine the spotlight on kids who need help, who need a hand.”

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Graduation 2014: What you need to know

The end is near for the graduating class of 2014.Graduation

With less than one month separating seniors from the threshold of university life and the “real world,” some might say the feeling is bittersweet.

For graduating seniors at Indiana Wesleyan University, the emotional mix of finalizing senior presentations and making lasting memories with friends can seem overwhelming as well.

“Don’t stress about what needs to get done because it will happen, but it is good to know what to expect the last few days before graduation,” said Kate Rush Lyons (alumnus ‘12). “Time is precious in these final moments.”

According to Karen Ballinger, IWU’s associate director of residential academic services, seniors who intend to graduate this semester must confirm they are eligible to do so.

“If students already think they will come up deficient in some way, they need to be proactive and come up with a plan immediately with their adviser,” stated Ballinger. “In most cases, if we can’t work something out, we will move them to an August graduation date.”

Ballinger expressed the importance of students making sure all their class work is completed by April 17. Students failing to reach that deadline will not be able to participate in the spring ceremony.

For IWU students interested in inviting guests to graduation, it is important to secure tickets so guests can sit in the Chapel-Auditorium. According to Residential Academic Services, each graduate will receive five tickets for the 10 a.m. ceremony. The tickets will be available for pick up in the RAS office April 2. However, those who received mid-term grades should know they cannot pick up their tickets until final grades have been received and verified. Once the RAS office acknowledges final grades are clear, tickets will be released Thursday, April 24.

Despite deadline pressure for grades, seniors should look forward to the Thursday and Friday following April 23, which is the last day of finals.

“The last few days before graduation were my favorite memories,” said Lyons. “It was warm outside, finals were over and we were finally free from obligation for just a few days. My friends and I basically used that time as a celebration for our past and future accomplishments.”

While Lyons used the extra free time to celebrate, graduates should utilize some of the free time to pack up their belongings. All graduating seniors must move out of their dorm or townhouse by 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 26.

Lyons lived off campus, which meant she didn’t have to stress about packing up her belongings before graduation. She did however offer some advice for IWU students prone to procrastination.

“Just plan ahead and pack your stuff,” stated Lyons. “There are six hours following the ceremony. Some of my friends unfortunately missed out on pictures because their families had to help them move out. Don’t miss out on your special day.”

Seniors interested in celebrating with IWU President David Wright should also plan for President’s Breakfast, which is a tradition hosted in the Student Center Piazza at 8 a.m. April 26.

The President’s Breakfast is a time for students to reminisce with their friends, and shake hands with President Wright. Lyon’s attended the event with her friends and recommends going in a group and enjoying one last meal as a student.

With final meals in mind, don’t plan to use up all of your points just yet.

While some divisions will host dining celebrations April 24 and April 25, graduating seniors should still save up their meal swipes and points. The schedule for Baldwin and Wildcat has yet to be released for Thursday, April 24. However, Baldwin will only be open for dinner on Friday, April 25 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. On the day of graduation, Baldwin and Chik-fil-a will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students can also treat their friends and family to McConn Coffee as the popular cafe will be open Saturday, April 26 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to Ballinger, students are also strongly encouraged to attend the Baccalaureate service.

“The service is on the Friday evening before graduation,” stated Ballinger. “It will be an exciting time for graduates to line up with their division and receive their honors cords.”

The Baccalaureate service is Friday, April 25. Graduates will assemble by school in their academic attire at 5 p.m. in the Student Center to receive their designated honors cords. All graduates will then assemble at 5:30 p.m. in the Piazza for lineup to proceed into the chapel. The event officially begins at 6 p.m. and concludes at 7:15 p.m.

In regards to academic apparel, Ballinger explained it is too late to order a cap and gown online. Students who failed to order their apparel can go directly to the campus bookstore and make the request. For seniors who ordered before the deadline, the attire will be available for pickup in the bookstore April 7.

Seniors interested in learning more information regarding graduation are encouraged to attend the official senior information meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 16. The meeting will be in the Phillippe Performing Arts Auditorium and will include a final explanation and review of responsibilities for graduates who plan to participate in the spring ceremony.

Have you completed everything on your senior bucket list? Let us know in the comments what you plan to do with your friends before you graduate!

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