Alumni Spotlight: Muriel Stone (’64)

Muriel Stone has always had a life-long passion for the fine arts and music. This passion led her to Morningside College, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education in 1964.

Stone found her way to Morningside through a Morningside admissions counselor. She explained how she was impressed with the great music program and the scholarship she received helped as well.

During her time on campus, Stone was very involved both inside and outside of the music department. She participated in band, choir, orchestra, and a woodwind quartet. Additionally, she was in a music sorority on campus. Outside of the music department, she served as a hall counselor, was a member of the student religious group, a student council secretary and a member of LASS, a group for freshman women who were outstanding freshman students who had gotten off to a great start in college. Her sophomore year, Stone also served as the sophomore women student of the year.

Although Stone’s professional career did not include much music, she is now an active part of the Phoenix Chamber Music Society and a musician in the Sun City Chamber Orchestra.

“My love of music has taken me into an area of chamber music,” Stone said.

Stone currently serves as a board member on the Phoenix Chamber Music Society. “Our goal as a society is to bring the world’s finest chamber musicians here to the valley.”

She additionally is a musician in the Sun City Chamber Orchestra. This group of talented musicians performs four to six concerts a year and plays a variety of musical selections ranging from classical, to jazz. Stone is the first flute in this group, an accomplishment she is very proud of.

Stone had numerous pieces of advice for current students.

“Do very well academically and love the area you choose to study,” she said. “Be involved and be connected on campus and encourage curiosity and a sense of excellence.”

Her advice for young alumni?

“Stay connected to the college. Always be grateful for what you have been able to do and have. Be a very productive citizen and remain a productive and intellectual learner.”

TITLE

You may not realize, but 100% of full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid at Morningside. Muriel Stone is one of those students who received a scholarship during her time at Morningside that helped make the choice to come to Morningside an easy one. Scholarships, along with a passion for music and performing arts, led Stone to a novel idea.

“I would love to have a challenge scholarship, so to say, that challenges alumni to step forward and give back.”

Her vision for the scholarship includes one of which would encourage the recruitment of fine musicians as well as help with retention. Stone’s goals for the scholarship include helping with recruitment, helping music students financially, and helping to strengthen the performing arts and music program at Morningside.

“I hope (by establishing a scholarship) other alumni who were music majors will establish scholarships in their area as well.”

By this Stone indicated that she would love to see a variety of scholarships in different areas, for example, one for a clarinet player that wants to be part of a woodwind quartet, or one for a trumpet player who would like to be part of a brass quartet.

“I would love to see this idea grow and watch as others give back.”

 

Published in: on May 2, 2018 at 10:40 AM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Karla Santi (’98)

A 1998 Morningside graduate, Karla (Engbard) Santi is a founding partner and CEO of Blend Interactive, a website design and development company founded in 2005 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Santi also has two other Morningside graduates working for her company. As Interactive Designers, Sam Otis (2001) and Weston Burkhardt (2014) put their Graphic Design and Computer Science majors to use as they focus on design, accessibility, and front-end web development.

Santi is married Jayson Santi, a 1996 Morningside graduate, and they have two children.

Santi said she was originally drawn to Morningside because it was one of the few schools with a proper computer lab for graphic design students.

“At the time, I was also considering both private and public colleges in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but it was this small, private college in Iowa that proved to be cutting edge,” she said.

She majored in graphic design and minored in business at Morningside, participating in Student Government, Alpha Lambda Delta, Creative Edge Ad Club, and the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition and Alpha Delta Sigma Honor Society.

She played on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II women’s tennis team, where she still holds several school records.

Santi said her favorite thing about Morningside was the people.

“Professors cared about my academic success, and their advice (or rules) shaped how I tackle projects and deadlines today in my role as CEO,” she said. “The friends I made at Morningside also played an important part in my career path. My roommate, Sarah, lined up my internship, which turned into a career in web design and development. I remember many late nights in the computer lab working alongside my fellow graphic design classmates, many of which have gone on to be very successful in their careers as well.”

In addition to running a business, Santi serves on the board of directors for the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship and the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She is a mentor through EmBe’s Women’s Leadership Program and has a passion for encouraging young women to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math. She also takes part in a weekly tennis league and even finds time for a ballet class.

Her advice for students was to learn not just from your major but from your entire college experience.

“Some of the most valuable takeaways from college aren’t always related to your degree,” she said. “When I see job applicants with four-year degrees, that tells me they can commit to a process of rigorous, structured work. It’s in these years of independence where you learn how to prioritize tasks, set expectations and communicate with others – all while making mistakes along the way. The experience and relationships you form while earning your degree are equally as important to the subject matter of your major.”

Her advice for young alumni was don’t be afraid to get started.

“It’s advice that I’ve been given and have to work on every day: ‘Don’t wait for perfection to start something.’ If we wait for perfection, it will never happen. Start something and refine as you go. It’s difficult advice for us perfectionists out there, but even with time, nothing is ever perfect.”

 

Published in: on at 10:32 AM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Jason Gehling (’03)

 

Jason Gehling has quickly become a leader in the Sioux City community since graduating from Morningside College in 2003.

He was even named to the “10 under 40” list of young leaders in the Sioux City community that was published by Siouxland Magazine in 2016.

Gehling is market president and business banking manager for Wells Fargo in Sioux City. He serves as vice president of the Sioux City Public Schools Foundation Board. He also serves on the Siouxland Habitat for Humanity Board and the Sergeant Bluff Little League Board and is an advisory member of the Iowa Small Business Development Center and the Iowa Bankers Association.

Gehling said he loves to stay active in his community and with his family.

“My wife, Cheri (Jorgensen), a 2003 Morningside graduate, and I stay very active with our four kids,” Gehling said. “We enjoy boating, camping, baseball, football, basketball and, most recently, archery and sporting clays.”

At Morningside, Gehling majored in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. He also was involved in Phi Beta Lambda, an organization that helps students prepare for business careers through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences. He said he had a great experience in college.

“I appreciated the close relationships I was able to develop with the professors and also enjoyed the engagement of the students,” he said.

Gehling’s advice to young alumni was to find a mentor that will be honest with you and that you trust. His advice to current students was to connect with students and professors on campus.

“Take time to get to know your fellow students. Many of them you will cross paths with later in life,” he said. “Do not take the direction and advice from professors lightly. They can provide a condensed version of life’s lessons without the calories from mistakes.”

Published in: on April 25, 2018 at 1:34 PM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Dustin Cooper (’05)

After working as an English teacher and basketball coach in Phoenix, Ariz., Dustin Cooper is happy to be back home in Sioux City.

The 2005 graduate of Morningside College returned to Sioux City in 2015 to teach and coach boys’ basketball at his alma mater, East High School. He is married to Gretchen (Wickey), a 2001 Morningside graduate, and they have three children.

In the few short years that he has been back in Sioux City, Cooper has co-founded the We Got Next foundation, which serves Siouxland youth, and HCC Enterprises, the company behind a new Siouxland project, The Arena.

The Arena is a $13.5-million project to build an 80,000 square foot multi-sports complex in the former Sioux City Stockyards that will host sports-specific training, leagues, tournaments and major events. Cooper will serve as executive director of The Arena, which is set to open in the summer of 2019.

At Morningside, Cooper majored in English education, and he was a member of the men’s basketball team. He played NCAA Division II, independently during the transition year and then the first year in NAIA Division II.

“I chose Morningside because it was close to home, I knew the academics were second to none, and the basketball program was very strong,” he said. “The classes were small and the professors knew me by my first name. From the professors to the administration, everyone wanted to see me be successful and was willing to do whatever they could to see that happen.”

After graduating from Morningside, Cooper moved to Arizona and earned a master’s degree in administration from Northern Arizona University.

Cooper’s advice to students was to take advantage of the experiences that college offers.

“Soak in the phenomenal education being provided to you, but also immerse yourself in the total college experience,” he said. “Go to academic seminars and athletic contests. Take advantage of the opportunities that get you out of your comfort zone. When you step off campus with your degree, you will find yourself in a world that is not comfortable at times. Learning how to thrive in these situations now will set you up for success later.”

Cooper’s advice to young alumni was simple.

“Thank the professors, administrators, coaches and staff that touched your life in a positive way,” he said. “Those two words go a long way.”

Cooper is grateful for the lasting impact Morningside has had on his life.

“As a former Morningside College student-athlete, I am proud to have been afforded the top-notch education and athletic experience that I did,” he said. “I am grateful to all of the professors, administrators and coaches that helped play a role in molding me into the man I am today.”

 

Published in: on April 18, 2018 at 1:59 PM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Pete Haack (’96)

Pete Haack is using his degree in mass communication from Morningside College to work as a video producer for a large healthcare facility in La Crosse, Wis.

He also competes in Masters Track and Field meets throughout the country and coaches sprints for the local high school and for adults in a local track club. He is involved in his church through choir and various committees.

These are some of the same interests he pursued while a student at Morningside.

“I chose to attend Morningside because they have good mass communications and music programs,” said the 1996 Morningside graduate. “I also wanted to have a chance to run track.”

During college, Haack was involved in the Student Communications Committee, Student Government, Dimmitt Hall Council, KMSC Campus Radio Station, Acacia Fraternity, Morningside Activities Council, Track and Field, Cross Country, Student Life Committee, Concert Chorale and Vietnamese Tutoring Program. He also was a Resident Assistant.

Helping to start the Acacia Fraternity at Morningside is a very special memory for him.

“It was a very talented and motivated group of young men who worked very hard to get the fraternity going,” he said. “Having Gene Ambroson as our advisor was a true blessing. He has been a life-long mentor to me and so many others, and I am truly thankful to have had him around during that time in my life.”

Haack’s advice to current students is to get involved in the community.

“Take advantage of the opportunities to get involved in many different activities that attending a smaller school can offer,” he said.

He had similar advice for young alumni.

“Think about ways you can give back to your community and get involved,” he said. “You will make it a better place to live for you and your neighbors.”

 

Published in: on April 11, 2018 at 2:47 PM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Jackson O’Brien (’16)

Jackson O’Brien credits his Morningside education for his success in law school and his burgeoning legal career. The tools he developed during his studies in history and political science have placed him at the top of his class at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, and secured him an ongoing clerkship with the respected firm Whitfield & Eddy.

“I believe that students considering law school should look to Morningside for comprehensive preparation,” O’Brien said.

While at Morningside, O’Brien was heavily involved on campus. Some of his roles included president of Student Government, president of Omicron Delta Kappa, vice president of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and resident assistant for Residence Life. These activities were in addition to his training in history and political science, which developed his reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

“The expert advising at Morningside helped me shape my career goals and develop a realistic strategy to get there,” he said. “These steps included internships at a local law firm, the Woodbury County Courthouse, and in the United States Senate. I learned to organize, work proactively, and seize opportunities through my education.”

O’Brien graduated summa cum laude from Morningside in 2016, receiving the award for Outstanding Student in the Humanities in his class, and went on to Drake University Law School.

Currently, he is president of the Drake Law Student Bar Association, member of the National Moot Court Team, production editor on the Drake Law Review, and an executive in student organizations such as Drake Law Women and Drake Association for Child Advocacy. Additionally, O’Brien is a research assistant with Professor Andrew Jurs and a teaching assistant in the legal research and writing program.

This involvement, along with his academic success, has resulted in a clerkship at the Des Moines and Mount Pleasant firm Whitfield & Eddy, where O’Brien works on a variety of legal matters, including litigation, estates, family law, construction, and financial services. O’Brien is now interviewing for a clerkship with federal judges in the region to work in their courts after graduation, with plans to enter private practice in Des Moines afterward.

O’Brien feels strongly that Morningside set him up for success.

“Law school requires students to read copious amounts of complex material, organize their thoughts in persuasive arguments, and communicate their positions in writing,” he said. “Moreover, the legal profession often (but not always) necessitates sound presentation skills. Students entering law school, therefore, must be organized, proactive, and motivated.”

“I encourage students interested in law school to attend Morningside and take courses that challenge their reading comprehension and writing skills,” he continued. “Courses in history, political science, or English will help develop students’ organization and attention to detail. Involvement in theatre and the arts will also help students in their presentation skills and give them confidence in themselves. These skills can also be furthered by networking on campus and getting involved in student activities.”

O’Brien said he is thankful for his Morningside education every day. Morningside students should feel free to contact O’Brien through Morningside Connect with questions on how to prepare themselves for a career in law.

 

 

 

Published in: on April 4, 2018 at 1:49 PM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Dennis Reyman (’92)

Dennis Reyman uses the skills and knowledge he gained while at Morningside as a partner at Stalcup Agricultural Service in Storm Lake, Iowa.

“I am involved in farm management around Northwest Iowa, farm real estate appraisal, and farm real estate sales,” said the 1992 Morningside graduate.

Reyman additionally has served as the past president of the Iowa Chapter of American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA), as well as serving as the co-chairman on the national Government Relations Committee of ASFMRA for the past 10 years.

During his time at Morningside, Reyman was a non-traditional student that majored in business and economics.

“I chose Morningside due to the close proximity and familiarity of campus,” he said. “Quality education and professors also sold it for me. Additionally, the focus on good writing skills impressed me.”

During college, Reyman stayed busy with classes and participated in the interdepartmental honors program.

Reyman reflected on his time at Morningside and noted one of his favorite things about the campus.

“My favorite thing about my college experience was the friendly and interesting people I met along with the quality classes and interested professors.”

Reyman’s advice to current students was to learn to utilize the time given to them.

“The sooner you learn to maximize your minutes, the more you can participate, and the more you’ll be prepared to lead.”

Reyman’s advice to young alumni was to network.

“Network every which way. You never know how life’s experiences will intertwine with the future. Additionally, always stay positive.”

Reyman is grateful for the lasting impact Morningside has had on his life.

“I am proud of my Morningside education and very proud of the college’s accomplishments in recent years.”

 

Published in: on March 20, 2018 at 2:05 PM Comments (2)

Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Martinez (’15)

Ryan Martinez, a 2015 Morningside graduate, is living out his dream as a co-founder of Volunteer Siouxland, Siouxland’s new online volunteer center that boasts over 70 organizations and 450 volunteers signed up within the first month.

“While serving in the nonprofit sector for almost 2 years, I recognized that there was a need in my community for meaningful volunteerism,” he said. “After identifying that a physical location for a volunteer center was not financially sustainable, my co-founder and I took charge and created an all-new way to volunteer.”

During his time at Morningside, Martinez majored in graphic design with a minor in advertising.

“The size of the college was one of the primary reasons I chose Morningside,” he said. “I knew a smaller college setting would allow me to foster a more meaningful relationship with my professors and advisors, as well as provide me with more opportunities to develop as a leader.”

During college, Martinez was involved in the Entrepreneurship Group, serving as the president, and he was the treasurer in Student Government.

The knowledge Martinez gained through his activities, such as Entrepreneurship Group, led him to some great accomplishments, a few of which include 2014 Student Entrepreneur of the Year and Business Competition ‘Swimming with the Sharks’ two-time award winner in 2014 and 2016. He also developed and coordinated Sioux City’s Entrepreneurial Event, Base 3.

Martinez reflected on his time at Morningside and noted one of his favorite things about college.

“Without a doubt, it was the community that exists at Morningside. I was always surrounded by peers who were striving to become a better version of themselves, as well as advisors who prepared me for the post-college life by challenging me and pushing me out of my comfort zone. It certainly proved true to me that you are a reflection of the people you surround yourself with.”

Martinez’s advice to current students was to take advantage of the opportunities at Morningside.

“Students should take full advantage of their student status, embrace being a learner and ask others for help, advice and shared wisdom,” he said. “People are always willing to help students if you just ask. My greatest mentors fell into my network simply because I asked for their feedback and guidance on projects I was working on at the time.”

Martinez’s advice to young alumni was to get involved in their community.

“The best way to grow as an individual and professional is to work alongside like-minded individuals on something you are passionate about. By doing this, you are making a positive impact in your community and opening doors to new opportunities by growing your network.”

 

Published in: on March 14, 2018 at 2:17 PM Comments (2)

Morningside Madness 2: The Rematch!

The stage is set for another record-breaking event on March 14 and 15!  Last March, Morningside hosted its inaugural day of giving and exceeded the goal of 360 donors in 36 hours and raised more than $77,000 to support student scholarships.  This year we aim to reach 500 donors and $100,000!

Morningside Madness is successful thanks to our passionate volunteers and generous alumni and friends.  This speaks to why Morningside ranks #1 in Alumni Participation Rate (APR) when compared to more than 100 similar colleges and universities by “U.S. New and World Report”.  That statistic is an incredible testimony to our dedicated and loyal alumni base.

More than 40 volunteers will lead the charge reaching out to their alumni friends, asking them to make a gift to the Annual Scholarship Fund.  During the 36 hours, several challenge gifts will drive momentum.  For example, 40 gifts in a two-hour segment, regardless of size, can unlock challenge gifts from $1000 to $10,000.  Therefore, every single gift can make a huge impact.

Join the Rematch, log onto to www.msidemadness.com and get in on the action.  This site will have real-time updates and you can find out which Morningside Mascot has the most gifts.  Whether you were a Maroon, a Chief or a Mustang, we are all ONE Morningside!

Please help us ensure that today’s students have the same phenomenal experiences that we did.

Published in: on March 9, 2018 at 9:14 AM Comments (3)

Alumni Spotlight: Gene Knudsen (’71)

Dr. Gene Knudsen came to Morningside College focused on baseball. But Morningside opened new doors for the 1971 graduate that have taken him all over the world.

At Morningside, he became very involved with theatre, concert choir, and student government. Additionally, he enjoyed being involved in Delta Sigma Phi, a fraternity helping and encouraging its members to become better students, leaders, citizens, and professionals.

“I am a firm believer that when one door closes –baseball, in my case – other opportunities abound. An Introduction to Theatre class gave me the idea to try out for the musical ‘Kiss Me Kate,’ where I was cast and was privileged to walk in tights onto the stage at Klinger-Neal singing and dancing with a whole new set of non-baseball friends.

“One entire spring break, Dr. James Wood and his concert choir gave me the opportunity to travel west by bus, stopping about every 500 miles to give a concert and staying overnight with people I didn’t know until we reached Los Angeles. A plane ride to Hawaii gave us more destinations, more concerts and more interesting free accommodations before returning to Sioux City and our classes.”

Knudsen graduated from Morningside with a double major in English and history. He went on to earn a master’s degree and then his doctorate in education administration and curriculum from the University of Southern California. He is now retired after a 37-year career in education with Department of Defense.

“Working for the Department of Defense as a teacher and administrator took me around the world to see places and do things I only dreamed of in high school and college,” he said.

Knudsen appreciates how travel took him out of his comfort zone, allowing him to meet people from different cultures and with different perspectives than his own. He now spends much of his time taking photos of the world around him. “Documenting the journey of life and preserving memories for myself and others is fulfilling and a great stress reliever,” he said.

Looking back, his favorite thing about Morningside was the people he met and the life-long friends he made.

“Chief among those friends was Debra Anderson, who arrived as a freshman during my junior year and became my wife and best friend in 1972 during her senior year,” he said. “Eye-opening and life-changing professors included the generous and compassionate Dr. Sharon Ocker, always grammatically correct Beatrice Tift, and forever mind-altering Dr. Carrol McLaughlin.”

Knudsen’s advice to young alumni? “Make giving back a habit,” Knudsen said. “Morningside will provide you with many tools and skills you’ll use the rest of your life. Giving your time and talent to ‘our college dear’ will help others, and you’ll be helping yourself at the same time.”

 

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 9:42 AM Comments (1)