Tag Archives: Scholarship Festival

The Kaleidoscope End of Spring 2019


Rainbow flag on campus for the Alliance Club Rainbow Fest.

The pace of academic life in spring can be grueling. At the end of any semester, things heat up—suddenly the crushing weight of grading, prepping exams, viewing speeches, etc., is combined with the need to look forward, finish reports and prepare for what comes next.

There’s so much to do and only so many hours in a day.


Student from American Lit class, with chalk that was used to write quotes on campus.

It’s stressful, these final weeks of any term, but especially stressful in spring when a long break is coming, some students are graduating and everybody is making decisions about What Comes Next.

But, even if I feel like a hamster on a wheel moving at least twice as fast as it ought to, there is a lot to treasure in spring on campus. Recently at Mount Mercy University, for example, we’ve had a number of year-end events that are fulfilling and enriching.

Monday here was “Scholarship Festival,” a celebration of both the scholarly and creative work students have done this year. There were presentations, poster displays and creative writing readings.

My favorite? Paha! I always enjoy the readings done by young writers of their own works when this MMU creative magazine is published each spring, and Paha was a highlight of the Scholarship Festival.

Spring at MMU has featured so much more—Rainbow Fest celebrating the club that supports LBGTQ+ students; Eco Week, shining a spotlight on campus efforts to become more sustainable; smaller events, such as an English class chalking the walks with American literary quotes—and more is to come. Besides graduation and all the associated events, there will be concerts and retirement parties.

And even if it is cool and wet today, with more rain on the way, campus is suddenly green, the grass has been mowed several times and trees are waking up. It’s hard to even think of how dreary winter was–the mole people of MMU are emerging from the steam tunnels and can be spotted out in the outdoors.

The kaleidoscope that years end always brings can be disorientating and discomforting, but it is also energizing and exhilarating. Here’s to spring on a university campus!


Dr. Carol Tyx, English professor, shows Paha at Scholarship Festival.

Images of the kaleidoscope:

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Change the World, Scholars!

Mount Mercy Choir

Mount Mercy Choir sang before Dr. Kowach's keynote speech. Don't recall the name of the song, but I think it's one our MMU hand bell choir also is learning, probably to perform at graduation with the MMU choir.

I liked the message delivered this afternoon by Dr. Glen Kowach, City College of New York, who was the keynote speaker at the Scholarship Festival at Mount Mercy University.

A chemist who has multiple patents for work with crystals used for electronics, Kowach told how collaboration with researchers while he was an undergraduate influenced him to pursue his own research and advanced education. As Mount Mercy University places more emphasis on faculty research, and there are more opportunities for students to collaborate in research, it was a nice message to hear.

Dr. Glen Kowach

Dr. Glen Kowach, a chemist from City College of New York, gave the keynote speech at MMU Scholarship Festival.

On the other hand, Kowach also noted his proudest achievement was being honored for teaching excellence, and teaching is the primary mission at MMU.

Anyway, I’m glad that what used to be called “Scholarship Day” has grown to become what is legitimately called Scholarship Festival. I had to teach (even had a field day, described on my bike blog) so I missed the morning and early afternoon events, but I attended several events, the keynote speech, and, of course, the reception afterwards (when free food must be eaten, I’m there to pitch in and help).

In one session, Cindy Petersen, editor in chief of the Mount Mercy Times, talked about blogs and blogging. She is an active blogger herself, and showed her blog, among others (including mine). Jenifer Hanson, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life, noted that a relative called her Jenion blog “emotional nudity.” That’s an apt description of many blogs, in a way, in that a blog reveals your personal inner life, but it’s also true that you need to remember any blog is a public performance, meant to be seen by the world. Kudos to Cindy for being one of the students who “gets it” and continues to actively blog.

Cindy Petersen

Cindy Petersen, editor of the Times, talks on blogging.

Sadly, I missed the communication capstone discussion on advertising even though several students had to leave my editing lab to take part in it. However, I caught several other interesting talks, not all of which I fully understood (I still don’t get the whole protein thing, but that’s life).

All in all, the Scholarship Festival feels like a good fit with MMU. It wasn’t a day of prizes or accolades so much as a day of extended sharing, of raising awareness of how scholars, even undergraduate scholars, can push the boundaries between the known and unknown and enlarge the human experience.

Or, as Dr. Kowach put it, change the world.

Dr. Glen Kowach

Dr. Glen Kowach speaks at MMU.

Dr. Daniel Kleinknecht

Dr. Daniel Kleinknecht introduced and played piano for a solo by soprano Beca Orvella, singing St. Matthew's Passion in German.

Daniel and Beca

Dr. Daniel Kleinknecht and Beca Orvella receive well-deserved applause after their performance.

Dr. Glen Kowach

Dr. Glen Kowach during his MMU speech.

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