Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top Bluffton stories of 2010

Not to be outdone by the plethora of Top 10 lists to be released next week, here are the top Bluffton University news stories from 2010 as chosen by you our readers. (according to Urchin web stats)

10) Basingers invest $1 million in their hometown
James and Frieda Basinger of Bisbee, Ariz., left their entire estate to be split between Bluffton University and Mennonite Home Communities.

9) President extends reach
The public phase of Extending Our Reach- The Campaign for Bluffton was launched at the annual President’s Forum.

8) Students honored for academic excellence
Students were recognized for their academic achievements at the annual Academics Awards and Honors Forum.

7) Distinguished Bluffton alumni to receive awards
Robert Smucker ’52, Dr. Paul Ropp ’66, Chad Stearns ’00 and Dr. Stephen Jacoby were honored at the annual alumni awards banquet.

6) Renovation brings fresh, ‘green’ focus to Bluffton campus restaurant
Renamed to reflect a shift in focus to a restaurant atmosphere, The Commons at Marbeck offers fresh foods and healthier options from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

5) A great education at great price: U.S.News & World Report
In addition to being once again listed in the top tier in the Best Regional Colleges listing, Bluffton is also in the top 10 in the Great Schools, Great Prices category.

4) Bluffton names 2010-11 Athletics Hall of Fame inductees
J. Roger Howe ’49, Charles Stapleton ’78, Louis Stokes ’73 and the 1992 softball team will be inducted into the Bluffton Athletics Hall of Fame in January 2011.

3) Bluffton shuts down Earlham in 26-7 win over Quakers
Bluffton improved to 2-3 on the season and 1-2 in the HCAC with their first conference win since the final game of the 2007 season.

2) Art resembles life for one of Bluffton’s ‘Little Women’
Sarah Diller played the youngest sister in Bluffton’s May Day production of Louisa May Alcott’s classic.

1) Bluffton rallies in fourth quarter for 30-28 win at Kalamazoo
Following a winless 2009 campaign, the Beavers win their first contest of 2010 in dramatic fashion.

Before checking out the actual stats, I noted a few stories that I felt were important in the past year. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I looked them up. While some of the stories were on both lists, I totally missed others and am surprised by still others that weren’t included on the stats list.

No disrespect to the football team – but hello, the volleyball team went 23-7 overall and just missed a second consecutive invitation to the NCAA regional tournament. And don’t forget about the introduction of the new health care concentration to the MBA and the baccalaureate social work evening classes. And the introduction of J. Denny Beaver… that one really surprises me.

What additional stories from Bluffton in 2010 do you think deserve to be mentioned?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home or Bust

Look out parents – your kids are coming home for a three-week break!

Oh, sure you parents of first year students might be asking “why the warning? I’m so excited to have my son/daughter home.” Well, I used to be na├»ve like you.

First of all, warm up the washer and dryer. They will be bringing home baskets of dirty laundry, every stitch of clothing they own, because they have not done laundry since Thanksgiving break. Guaranteed.

Then there’s your grocery bill. Yikes! “Mom, what are you getting me for Christmas?” “I’m feeding you for three weeks.”

Of course I’m joking. There is a special joy in caring for your loved ones. Plus, you can find out a lot about what they’ve been doing while doing laundry. For instance, my son came home from his first semester with multiple intramural champion t-shirts. Of course my loaded question was, “And how were your classes?” And who doesn’t get warm fuzzies from making your loved ones’ favorite foods?

You may have visions of spending LOTS of quality time with your offspring, working side by side wrapping gifts, shopping, making cut-out cookies, going caroling, the real Rockwell Christmas. Well, sorry to bust your bubble, but forget about it.

Chances are pretty good that for the first few days your student will eat and sleep, not necessarily in that order. Once they have recovered from the rigors of finals week, you’ll find out that their internal clock is now running on college student time. On college student time, it’s not unusual for one to make plans to go out with friends at, say 11 p.m.

Your son/daughter will probably make plans with friends that you know nothing about until they are walking out the door. You may have prepared a family game night thinking they were going to be home for the evening. That’s OK, you can eat the popcorn while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” By yourself. For the fifth time.

Then there is the new routine you have developed in your student’s absence. You know that carefully choreographed morning bathroom routine. “How did we ever do this with one more person in the mix?”

However, the students I’ve talked with are really looking forward to going home for break. Is it to see friends? To eat homecooked meals? To bid farewell to fall semester classes? Yes. Yes. And yes. But it’s also to see family, to be loved, to relax and rejuvenate in the comfort of home.

And as a parent, doesn't that make for a wonderful life?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bluffton's own Secret Santa

Guest blog by Dr. George Metz, professor of education and NCAA faculty representative

At Bluffton, not only are we planning and preparing for the Christmas celebration and holidays, but we are also planning and preparing for the final stages of the new Health and Fitness Education Center. Like a child anxiously awaiting opening presents at Christmas, the anticipation is exciting!

The new Health and Fitness Education Center will be an incredible addition to the campus. The entire campus community will be able to utilize the many features of this facility, from the enhanced Hall of Fame display, to the faculty and staff offices, the weight training and fitness areas, and, yes, the fantastic arena for intercollegiate and intramural sports events. Unlike the brightly decorated boxes under the tree, we can see and already know the contents of this present and we can’t wait for the time to come!

You, too, can join in excitement. An anonymous donor [Bluffton’s very own Secret Santa] will match donations to the Health and Fitness Education Center made before Dec. 31! This person will match your gift of any amount up to $1,000! What a great way to double your gift to Bluffton.

If your situation permits, perhaps you can join us in the increasing anticipation of the new center and make your donation before Dec. 31 to take advantage of this Christmas Bonus!

As the Christmas season rapidly approaches, join us in the celebration of the coming of Emmanuel – God with us – and continued blessings into the New Year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


So the season of Advent is upon us; the season for preparing for the coming of Christ, a season of generosity, joy and peace.

And preparation. Did I mention preparation? Gifts to buy, parties to plan, gatherings to attend, cookies to bake, presents to wrap. It’s so easy to let this time year become one giant to-do-list, rather than a time to reflect, enjoy and share generously.

Oftentimes it’s helpful to have devotions to help guide our reflections. This year, Bluffton’s campus ministries team, students, faculty and staff, have compiled Advent devotions which are available online. In addition to being available from the Bluffton website, these devotions are linked from the Mennonite Education Agency site.

The Bluffton University Nutrition Association’s annual Fill the CUP spaghetti dinner is always an enjoyable event. Students serve a three-course spaghetti dinner at no charge while diners are asked to make a donation of cash or non-perishable foods which are then donated to the Church United Pantry (CUP) in Lima.

A total of $1,000 and 124 lbs of food items were donated to CUP while students, alumni and community members gathered to share good food, conversation and laughter.

There are also opportunities to give without receiving anything in return, opportunities to share generously.

Students donated 35 shoeboxes filled with gifts to Operation Christmas Child in a drive organized by the Spanish Club. Advisor Jesse Oliver said, “It was wonderful to see the generosity of the university students!”

A group of campus support staff, The Backbone, has taken the lead in collecting items for the Findlay Coats for Christmas campaign. The campus community has been invited to decorate a Christmas tree in College Hall with hats, gloves and scarves. New and slightly used accessories will be accepted through noon Dec. 9.

While making our lists and checking them twice this season, let us all find time to reflect, enjoy and share generously.