Alumni Spotlight: Chris Dixon (’93)

Alum Chris Dixon, Morningside graduate 1993, feels like he is putting his Morningside education to great use.

“I’m happy to have been able to keep a great work-life balance and enjoy steady career progress through some tough economic times. I’ve written a newspaper column, run for office, been to nearly every major U.S. city, and served on volunteer boards. I feel like I have been putting my Morningside experience to good use.”

Dixon attended Morningside as a double major in political science and American Indian studies.

“I had long been interested in political science and Indian studies so that is what put me onto Morningside. Then, I was able to get some great scholarships that made it a no-brainer.”

He explained that his favorite thing at Morningside was the smaller college campus.

“I graduated from a large high school in Indianapolis, over 2,000 kids at the time, so I enjoyed the smaller college campus where I could get to know different kids of people, athletes, drama majors, international students, you name it.”

Dixon was an involved student while at Morningside. He wrote and edited the Collegiate Reporter, was on student government and was worked at the campus radio station, KMSC.

“I was also able to cover the Democratic and Republican national conventions of 1992 for the Sioux City Journal as part of an independent study course.”

Dixon’s advice for current students was to take advantage of everything at Morningside.

“Take advantage of your access to professors! Otherwise, you’re missing out on half the value of a small college like Morningside. Also, enjoy the greatly beautified campus and all the facilities that have been upgraded since my days.”

His advice for young alumni was to make the best of your current situation and seek advice.

“Always make the best of your current situation and seek advice from more established co-workers. Find out where ‘the action’ in your career field will be in ten years and aim for that. This will ensure you have the skills and expertise that will put you at the center of things going into your peak earning years.”

“Even at my age of 48, I’ve picked up the Morningsider magazine and seen classmates who have gone to the great alumni reunion in the sky. Push yourself and take chances, but never forget to savor the moment.”

Published in: on May 2, 2019 at 2:12 PM Comments (2)

Alumni Spotlight: Samantha Wenger (’08)

A little over 10 years after graduating from Morningside College, Samantha Wenger is a senior managing associate at Dentons, a global law firm with 175 locations serving 79 countries.

Wenger earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and business from Morningside College in 2008. She went on to earn a law degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law.

Along with her work at Dentons in Kansas City, Wenger serves on the Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance board and is a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

Wenger said Morningside College helped prepare her for her successful law career.

 “On my first visit to Morningside, there was a palpable sense of excitement on campus that immediately drew me in,” she said. “After that single visit, I felt that Morningside would provide the best learning environment for me because the professors’ fully engaged teaching style would be able to keep my attention, and the small class sizes would not allow me to get lost in the shuffle.”

During her time on campus, Wenger participated in Mock Trial, Entrepreneurship Group, Student Ambassadors, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, and Interdepartmental Honors. 

Wenger said her favorite thing about Morningside was the professors.

“My favorite thing was each of the professors in Charles City and Lincoln Center who went out of their way to instill confidence in me and help me plan for my future after Morningside,” she said. “Also, Pam Anderson in Lincoln Center – I do not know what I would have done without her humor all of those years.”

Her advice for students was to take advantage of the expertise of their professors.

“Respect and listen to your professors,” she said. “They are there to help you find your way if you are willing to let them. I would also say that everyone should take the opportunity to tackle at least one notoriously difficult – maybe even terrifying – course while at Morningside. That class for me was Civil War with Dr. (Pat) Bass. While I can definitely see how that course could have stricken fear in the hearts of many students, I hesitantly accepted the challenge and can now proudly say that Civil War ended up being one of my favorite classes. That sense of accomplishment you get after conquering those scary courses is quite wonderful. Prove to yourself that you can do it!”

Her advice for young alumni was to stay involved in your community.

“The connections you build outside of the workplace are often just as critical, if not more so, to your personal and professional growth,” she said. “Make sure you are also taking good care of yourself – get enough sleep, stay active, eat well and do at least one thing every day that makes you happy. Doing these things will help keep you mentally and physically strong so that you are ready to handle the challenges of a new career or post-graduate program.”

Published in: on February 12, 2019 at 12:55 PM Comments (13)

Alumni Spotlight: Mike Cadwell (’69)

Mike Cadwell earned a degree in business with a minor in business education from Morningside College, and he has used that degree in various ways throughout his career.

After graduating from Morningside College in 1969, he started his career as a high school teacher. After five years, he moved into retail business, where he spent seven years. For the last 38 years, he has worked in commercial insurance.

He said there were several reasons why he chose to attend Morningside.

“A high school classmate and good friend of mine had attended Morningside and referred me to the baseball coach,” he said. “I was very interested in the baseball program. Morningside was also affiliated with the Methodist Church and had an excellent academic reputation.”

During his time at Morningside, Cadwell played four years of baseball and one year of football. He was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, and he played on intramural football and basketball teams.

He said his favorite thing about Morningside was the size and the people.

“The campus was easy to get around and the school was small enough so you got to know many of the students. I developed great friendships with teammates and classmates that have lasted a lifetime.”

Cadwell’s advice to current students is to enjoy their time.

“Be curious, ask questions, and develop your core values,” he said. “Overall, enjoy the experience, it goes by very quickly.”

He encouraged young alumni pursue their dreams while keeping a focus on relationships.

“Get busy with your life adventure but don’t forget where you came from or the friends, acquaintances and mentors that you have connected with along the way,” he said.

Cadwell and his wife, Linda (Johnson), who is also a 1969 Morningside College graduate, have three children and nine grandchildren. The have lived in Sioux City for 50 years – ever since their graduation. During that time, Cadwell officiated high school football for 17 years and high school and college basketball for 30 years, 20 of those being in the North Central Conference. Cadwell continues to play golf, and he and his wife enjoy traveling together to visit their children and grandchildren.

Published in: on February 7, 2019 at 1:46 PM Comments (7)

Alumni Spotlight: Dave Mulder (’61)

Dave Mulder came to Morningside College because he won the Band Day Scholarship in the spring of 1957. He had a wonderful experience at the college and went on to pursue a career in higher education.

Mulder majored in business education and physical education at Morningside while participating in baseball, basketball, Circle K – a service organization sponsored by the Kiwanis club – and LADS honor society.

In 1974, he was inducted into the Morningside Hall of Fame for his achievements in baseball and men’s basketball.

Mulder said his favorite thing about Morningside was the people.

“I really enjoyed my time spent at Morningside,” he said. “My favorite things included playing baseball and living in the dorms with my friends.”

The 1961 Morningside graduate was a professor at Northwestern College, a small private college in Orange City, Iowa, from 1981 until his retirement.

During his time at Northwestern College he served as both a professor and coach. He earned an M.A. and Ed.D. from the University of South Dakota in 1966 and 1990, respectively, with further study at Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska, and the Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin.

Some accomplishments throughout his career include being named Northwestern College Professor of the Year twice and high school and college Coach of the Year in baseball and golf.

Mulder was as an Iowa senator from 2005 to 2008, serving on the agriculture, economic growth, education and human resources committees. He served as the ranking member of the education committee.

He is now retired and preaches part-time in area churches. He also sits on a few boards, such as Northwest Iowa Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

Mulder and his wife, Dorthy, have two children. His advice for current Morningside students is to take interesting classes and explore your options.

“Don’t cut class, take some classes that look interesting to you, even pass/fail classes. Additionally, major in an area that will lead to a job you will enjoy doing, not based on money only because they can’t pay you enough to do a job you don’t like.”

His advice for young alumni was to have your priorities set and support your alma mater.

“Your faith, your family, then your job or other interests and finally yourself should be the order of priority. Additionally, be proud of your college and support her!”

Published in: on at 1:45 PM Comments (4)

Student Spotlight: Samantha Rosa

Samantha Rosa is a junior at Morningside College from Omaha, Neb., with a passion for nursing and cheering on the Morningside Mustangs. Morningside has been the perfect school for her to carry out both passions.

“I love Morningside because I am able to cheer and continue my passion,” she said. “Morningside’s small school vibe is also something that I enjoy, and I wanted to expand my horizons.”

Rosa is currently majoring in nursing with a minor in psychology. After graduation, Rosa plans to continue her education at Morningside College, getting a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in family primary care.

Rosa is a very active student at Morningside. She is one of two captains on the Morningside cheer team; a student ambassador; and a member of Active Minds, a mental health awareness group;  the Morningside Student Nurses Association, and Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society.

“My favorite thing at Morningside is getting to meet prospective students both in my job as a student ambassador and through cheerleading and showing them all the great things about Morningside,” Rosa said.

Rosa also loves being a captain for the Morningside cheer team. “My favorite thing about being a captain is helping the team become as passionate about cheer as I am and helping everyone to be the best that they can be,” Rosa said.

On Dec. 1, the Morningside College football team beat St. Francis for the opportunity to advance to the national championships. Rosa was cheering on the team during the game, and she will travel down to Florida with her teammates to cheer on the football team.

“It means the world to myself, and the girls on the cheerleading team, to be cheering for a winning team like the Mustangs,” she said. “It is an amazing opportunity to travel to Florida and get to witness the Mustangs play at the national level.”

By cheering at Morningside and being a captain, Rosa said she has been able to gain a family. “Being able to go the football games on Saturday and cheer on the team, as well as getting to compete at surrounding colleges, has been a great experience.”

She is so excited for her Morningside family to have the opportunity to go to nationals.

“The opportunity for the football team to be able to play at nationals has been a long time coming. The boys have worked so hard. To finally push past that threshold is a really amazing experience for them to have. It is also amazing for the cheerleading team to be able to cheer them on and for all the fans, family members and prospective students to see what amazing experience they can have at Morningside.”

Published in: on December 2, 2018 at 3:03 PM Comments (1)

Morningside alumni provide free dental care to Sioux City residents

David and Diane Davidson are two Morningside alumni who are making a difference in the world.

As a dentist, David has traveled to 11 countries and performed dental care in them, three as an army dentist and eight as a missionary dentist. He has been president of the Iowa Dental Foundation since 2011. That group organizes the Iowa Mission of Mercy (IMOM), a two-day, free oral healthcare event where patients receive quality dental care provided by dental professionals.

Recently, David and Diane came to Sioux City to help head this free dental clinic.

“I believe this was the Iowa Dental Foundation’s 12th IMOM,” David said. “We do this event annually, traveling to different areas of the state. This is our second time in Sioux City. We generally do $1-2 million dollars of free dental care at each IMOM event.”

David and Diane met as students at Morningside College and have been together ever since. Graduating in 1976, David majored in biology and Diane was a history and political science major. David went on to receive a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Iowa, and Diane went to the University of Iowa College of Law.

Both were involved in campus activities during their time at Morningside. David sang in the men’s choir, and Diane participated in student government, pre-law, and worked in the communications department and at the college switchboard.

When asked their favorite thing about Morningside, David said, “My first year I met two friends who have been my best friends ever since. I became my own person, and my second year of college, I met my wife of 43 years.

Diane’s favorite things included Dr. Husband’s history class and the convocation classes. “This was the 1/4 credit class where you got cultured,” she said. “It started a lifetime of love for classical music and theatre.”

David and Diane both had advice for current students and alumni. David’s advice for current students was to enjoy your time at Morningside. “Time goes by quickly,” he said “Take classes outside of your major just for fun. Also, learn to be creative and think outside of the box.”

Diane said, “Be safe but look for adventures. Go someplace that doesn’t feel like home. Make friends with someone from another country, another age group or a different religion.”

To young alumni, David said, “Be generous and helpful to people who will never thank you, be philanthropic with your time and money, find your passion and live it, live each day as if it were your last day, have fun in life, do good, don’t be mean to people even if they wrong you, don’t let politics make you weird, find adventures and be faithful.”

Diane said, “Promote yourself! In the Midwest, we are fairly humble and modest, but a job interview is not the best time to let those traits shine.”

Both David and Diane have been very involved in their community since college. David and Diane have traveled to 65 different countries and all 50 states. They both are members of the Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, and Diane is an AFS High School exchange program volunteer. Diane practiced law for 30 years and now works as a clinic administrator at Davidson Family Dentistry, the clinic David owns and where he has practiced since 1980. David also has been an adjunct faculty for 19 years at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.







Published in: on October 15, 2018 at 6:48 PM Comments (1)

Student Spotlight: Zulema Alvarado

Zulema Alvarado is a junior at Morningside College from Sioux City, Iowa who chose Morningside because of the strong academic program and her familiarity with the college. 

“One reason I came to Morningside was because of my friends,” she explained. “They showed me bits and pieces of campus and it caught my attention. The other reason I chose Morningside was the psychology department. They were very engaging and had lots of opportunities for me to expand my horizons.”

Alvarado is a counseling and developmental psychology major. She said she likes the personal connection with professors on campus.

“What I like about Morningside is the one-on-one connection with your professors,” Alvarado said. “They are always there to help you and want to get to know you more.”

Alvarado is an active student on campus who takes every opportunity to get involved. Currently, she participates in MAC, the Morningside Activities Council; the Connie Wimer Women’s Leadership Program; and Morningside Choir. She is an Orientation Student Assistant, a student ambassador for the admissions office, and a leader in the Student Success program.

“My favorite part about being a member of these organizations is getting to know people,” Alvarado said. “I like meeting new people and getting to know them because there’s a possibility you might start a new friendship.”

After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school at either the University of South Dakota or the University of Nebraska Omaha for social work.





Published in: on October 11, 2018 at 9:32 AM Comments (3)

Alumni Spotlight: Jonalee DeNoble (’09)

Jonalee (Jackes) DeNoble got her dream job. She creates luxury experiences for guests at a five-star resort in Kohler, Wis.

“Dreams come true,” said the 2009 Morningside graduate. “Three years ago I married my amazing husband, Jared. We recently moved to Wisconsin and absolutely love it.

“I started as a senior meeting and events coordinator at The American Club by Destination Kohler and just accepted a promotion and am now the associate director of meetings and events. It’s an amazing property, and I know that I wouldn’t be here today without the education and connections I gained while at Morningside! And for the golf lovers, we are looking forward to hosting the Ryder Cup in 2020!”

During her time at Morningside, DeNoble was a double major in corporate communication and advertising with a minor in business. She worked in admissions, was on the dance team, was vice president of student government, was president of the Morningside Activities Council, and was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society. Additionally, she played intramurals, participated in the Into the Streets campuswide service day, and had a radio program on KMSC where she was known as “Jukebox Jonnie.”

“If you calculate all of the activities I was involved in with at least one T-shirt a year, you do the math, I have a full closet,” she said.

DeNoble especially loved working in the admissions office.

“I worked in the admissions office all four years and loved my time with my soul sister, Char,” she said. “I also loved giving tours and having ‘future Morningsiders’ stay with me on Scholarship Weekend!”

She said her favorite thing about Morningside is the people.

“The best friends I made along with my professors,” she said. “I knew that they were truly invested in my future, and it was a major motivator. I also can’t forget the amazing kitchen crew, the admissions team, random coaches, faculty and the housekeepers! They all were truly amazing, genuine people and quickly became my second family.”

DeNoble’s advice to current students is to invest in their future.

“You took the first step of joining the Morningside family, but go beyond that,” she said. “I always encourage everyone to get involved, but with that invest in yourself. The connections you make are lifelong. A connection you make could be your future spouse, your future boss, your future best friend, your future president, the future bridge to your dream job. Get involved and invest in your future, but don’t forget to have fun along the way!”

DeNoble encourages young alumni to do the same thing.

“I would encourage the same thought process as above; invest in your future,” she said. “The amazing students at Morningside are going places and why not help them in their future, which is also our future. The connections may be different, but think of the doors that could be opened. I am so thankful for those that not only have invested in me, but encouraged me along the way. It has shaped me into the successful woman I am today. Be that person for a young Morningsider.”

DeNoble is grateful for the lasting impact Morningside has had on her life.

“Thank you to everyone who has encouraged, supported and invested in me while at Morningside and beyond. It was four years of my life that I will always cherish. I look forward to seeing the amazing talent that comes from Morningside! Go Mustangs!”

Published in: on September 12, 2018 at 7:16 PM Comments (2)

Student Spotlight: Kyle Kommes

Kyle Kommes is a senior at Morningside College from Le Mars, Iowa, with many passions, especially accounting and sports. He said Morningside has been the perfect place to pursue his passions.

“When I visited a university, I felt like I was only a number,” he said. “I knew I was much more than that, and Morningside made me feel unique. Everyone on campus knows each other by name. Everyone who I have met has been extremely friendly, and the faculty and staff at Morningside truly care about each student succeeding.”

Kommes is a public accounting major with minors in sports management and religious studies. He said he chose Morningside because of the ability to be involved in so many activities.

“I wanted to go to a college that had a bowling program,” Kommes said. “I also was interested in being a student coach and a choir member. Being able to do all the things that I dreamed of doing in high school is the reason that I chose to attend Morningside.”

Kommes is a very active student who takes every opportunity to get involved. Currently, he is the president of Omicron Delta Kappa, a leadership honor society; a member of the men’s bowling team; a student assistant coach for the men’s basketball team; treasurer of the Morningside College Choir; the accounting club’s social media executive; and an accounting department peer mentor.

“I am involved in a ton at Morningside, and the best part about all the groups that I am involved in is how supportive they are of me being involved in other activities,” he said. “They are all willing to let me schedule enough time to make an impact on all of my groups and are allowing me to be this heavily involved.”

Since public accounting is a five-year degree, Kommes will graduate in May of 2020. After graduation, he plans to work at an accounting firm in either Le Mars or Sioux City and would like to become a certified public accountant. He also would like to coach high school sports.

“I am truly thankful and blessed that I chose to attend Morningside,” he said. “Everything I have experienced here will be a great story to tell my friends and family later on in my life. I would recommend Morningside to anyone who wants to feel welcome and involved.”


Published in: on September 10, 2018 at 10:37 AM Comments (1)

Japan Mayterm 2018

As many of you may know, members of the Regina Roth Applied Agricultural and Food Studies Program and the Morningside College Choir and alumni and friends of the college ventured to Japan in May for an 11-day trip. For many students, it was their first time outside of the United States, making the experience both memorable and exciting. There were 33 students, 10 alumni and friends, and six staff and faculty that went on the trip.

They visited five different cities, including Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Yamanashi, and Tokyo. They left Sioux City at 2:30 a.m. Thursday, May 17. The first flight took off from Omaha, went to Denver, then headed to Los Angeles, and finally ended up in Osaka after an 11-hour plane ride.

While in Osaka, participants visited Kansai Gaidai University, where the choir performed and students from Morningside College and Kansai Gaidai University mingled. Agriculture students visited an organic farm just outside of Osaka. They learned about the farmer’s operation and the importance of producing organic products through his eyes. Everything that he grows and produces he sells through his restaurant on site, which draws a large crowd from the city every day.


While in Hiroshima, Morningsiders visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum and had the opportunity to visit the monuments, walk through the museum and visit with an atomic bomb survivor who was 8months old when the bomb hit Hiroshima. Everyone was moved and touched by her story of perseverance and the power of forgiveness.

The next stop was Kyoto, where the group saw numerous temples, visited a castle and tried lots of tasty food! Nijo Castle was built in 1603. It was constructed as a demonstration of the shogun’s power and prestige to signal the falling of the emperor. In 1994, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Everyone toured the inside of the castle, admiring the artwork that covers the walls and ceilings and experiencing nightingale wood floors, which make chirping noises when people walk on them.

Another stop in Kyoto was the Golden Pavilion Temple. This temple and its location are known for their beauty. It was built in 1397 to serve as a retirement home for the shogun and was later converted into a Zen temple. It is three stories tall, with the top two stories being covered in gold.

In between Kyoto and Yamanashi, the group stopped at St. Stephen’s School, a private Catholic school originally for students with disabilities that now accepts all students. This was a memorable and special stop for everyone. The choir performed, then the students of St. Stephen’s sang a song, and finally the Morningside College Choir and students of St. Stephen’s sang Country Roads by John Denver together. It was very moving.

After the concert, Morningside students, staff and alumni got split into groups. Everyone ate lunch with the St. Stephen’s students in their respective group and then got to participate in an activity. Some got to go down to the beach and collect sea glass, others learned how to do origami, and the final group learned Japanese calligraphy all while interacting with St. Stephen’s students.

Then in Yamanashi, Morningsiders met with Yamanashi Mayor Haruo Takagi, went to a strawberry farm, visited Yamanashi University, toured an ice cream factory, and met the lieutenant governor of Yamanashi. The strawberry farm grows six different varieties of strawberries and uses crushed coconut imported from Sri Lanka for the soil. The berries were delicious!


At Yamanashi University, the choir participated in a music workshop while other students discussed differences between agriculture in Iowa compared to Yamanashi and learned that organic production agriculture means a lot to the Japanese. They place great importance on being eco-friendly. For example, to keep cooling costs down in the hot summer months, professors at Yamanashi University were growing grape vines along the side of the building. They wanted to see which of the six grape varieties produced the biggest leaves, grew the tallest and provided the most shade for them.



Morningsiders also toured an ice cream factory. They got to see the production line and taste test two of the factory’s ice cream treats, which were delicious! Ice cream is a popular treat in Japan and can most commonly be purchased in convenience stores and at vending machines. The company, Fuji Foods, sells prepackaged ice cream cones to convenience stores such as FamilyMart.

While in Tokyo, agriculture students visited the Tyson Foods headquarters and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, and everyone visited the Tsukiji Fish Market and the Meiji Shinto Shrine. At Tyson and the U.S. Meat Export Federation, agriculture students learned the importance of the United States and Japan’s relationship while also learning how American beef and pork is marketed to the Japanese people. To help convey this picture better, students toured a grocery store where they saw displays for American beef and learned how the cartoon character Gochipo helps market American pork.

The Tsukiji Fish Market was another popular stop with students, alumni, and faculty alike. It is the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and handles over 2,000 tons of marine products on a daily basis. It consists of both an indoor and outdoor market. The indoor market is where most of the wholesale business and the famous tuna auction takes place daily. The outdoor market consists of retail shops and stores where people are able to sample products and purchase them for themselves.

Students made a stop at the Meiji Shinto Shrine, one of Japan’s most popular shrines. It was dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken in 1920, but later destroyed during World War II. After being destroyed, it was rebuilt and continues to undergo improvements. During the year, traditional Shinto weddings take place at this shrine, and everyone got the opportunity to witness one taking place. Students also had ample time to explore the city.

All in all, students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of Morningside enjoyed the trip to Japan. From learning about the food and agriculture and tasting plenty of new treats to enjoying the choir performances at various venues and visiting popular tourist attractions, everyone was able to learn and gain something from the experience.



Published in: on June 14, 2018 at 8:44 PM Comments (8)