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Aspire Campaign for Grace College & Seminary Pursues Educational Excellence

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grace College & Seminary endeavors to provide a Christ-centered, innovative educational community. In pursuit of this goal, Grace launched the Aspire Campaign in March, 2017. The Aspire Campaign will further Grace’s mission to strengthen character, sharpen competence and prepare students for service. Specifically, it will accelerate the four priorities of Grace’s new strategic plan: educational excellence, culture of innovation, connected community and sustainable affordability.

“It’s true that Grace has an unchanging mission,” said Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College & Seminary. “But we must continually change our methods as we prepare students to serve in this ever-changing, sometimes embattled culture.”

The first priority of the Aspire Campaign is educational excellence. At the heart of a Grace College education are academically challenging courses and purposeful co-curricular experiences. Through educational excellence, Grace strives to merge faith and learning in fresh, innovative ways. Specific projects include the renovation and expansion of the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex and start-up funds for new academic programs including worship arts, agribusiness, chemistry and mechanical engineering.

The college broke ground on the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex on March 24. Dr. Miller was co-founder and 39-year president and CEO of Biomet in Warsaw, Ind.  Throughout his career, Dr. Miller and his wife Mary Louise were ardent supporters of Grace College and advocates of science and education.  The science complex is named in his honor.

To date, $7.18 million of the $8 million needed to expand the science complex has been raised. The project will renovate 22,500 square feet in the current science center and add 13,000 square feet of new space.  In addition to state-of-the-art labs, renovated classrooms and offices, the complex will also be home to the Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams, an education and research center focused on the lakes and streams in Kosciusko County. The Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex is slated for completion in the summer of 2018.

Grace also seeks to raise $3 million for new academic programs and enhancement of current academic offerings.

Worship Arts is one of the newest additions to Grace’s 70-plus majors. Launched in the fall of 2016, the program prepares students to follow careers in musical leadership, audio and visual technology and theater arts. Students hone proficiencies in keyboard, voice, percussion and guitar. Then, they combine musicianship with courses in worship music history, theory, theology and spiritual formation, along with the live performance and production in their emphasis area.

“Through this program, students acquire skills for diverse musical styles and expressions used in a variety of modern worship settings. They explore the ways in which audio/visual technology is utilized in today’s churches, studios and schools,” said Walter Brath, assistant professor of worship arts and program director of performing arts at Grace College.

Both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in agribusiness will be available in the fall of 2017.  The new agribusiness program at Grace College will combine science and business with agriculture courses to equip students with the skills necessary to pursue a variety of agriculture-related careers. The program will include seven months of hands-on internships at local farms to give students a complete education and career preparation.

“We want to help meet the needs of our agriculture-driven community,” said Dr. Jeffrey Fawcett, dean of the School of Business at Grace. “A variety of career options are available for students pursuing agribusiness, including farm administrator, processor, provider and marketer.  Our program will prepare students for each of them.”

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry will soon be added to Grace’s degree options. Grace has offered a minor in chemistry for many years and is now developing a major in response to inquiries from current and prospective students and parents.  The new chemistry major will incorporate organic and inorganic chemistry, synthetic organic research and research at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

“Grace will be one of few liberal arts institutions in the state to include a strong, peer-reviewed research component in our chemistry major when we launch in fall of 2018,” said Dr. Chad Snyder, chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics at Grace College.  “The research component will encourage students to disseminate their findings at local and state conferences, actively collaborate with professors from around the Midwest and serve as co-authors on peer-reviewed manuscripts submitted for publication,” he added.

Grace is also pursuing accreditation for a mechanical engineering program.  While Grace has enjoyed a partnership with Trine University to provide engineering degrees on campus until now, the college wishes to launch its own program to better serve students interested in engineering careers.  The effort will require $1.5 million for accreditation and program launch, including new laboratories and specialized equipment.

“Employment for future engineering graduates is very hopeful due to the concentration of orthopedic and manufacturing companies in the area. Our goal is to equip students to make important contributions to our community, the region and the nation,” said Dr. John Lillis, provost at Grace College. Completion is expected by the fall of 2018.

“Each of these new academic programs is designed to meet the needs of our economy and allow students to serve God in new and unique ways,” said Dr. Katip.  “They emphasize our commitment and constant pursuit of educational excellence at Grace College & Seminary.”

For more information and to give to the Aspire Campaign at Grace College & Seminary, visit or call 574-372-5100.

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