Traditionally held in February, Ottawa University’s annual Adventures in Faith (AIF) event was redesigned in several ways in 2012. The first modification was a move from winter to fall, this year on September 26-28, to make the event more impactful for students early in the academic year, as well as to minimize the possibility of inclement weather.
The second change was a broadening of the event’s scope to focus on specific areas of interest, thus allowing the AIF team to reach out to targeted members of the OU campus of students, faculty and staff, as well as the entire surrounding community. Titled “The Fire of Significance,” the fall Adventures in Faith focused on caregiving, education, theatre, business, student ministries, and athletics.
To appeal to identified needs within the community, OU partnered with Ransom Memorial Hospital, the East Central Kansas Area Agency on Aging (ECKAA), Winter Center, Academy of TaQi, and Ottawa Retirement Village to offer a “Summit for Caregivers” in the Mowbray Union on September 26. The session was open to all professional and personal caregivers and focused on the challenges of being in a caregiver role. It included resources, sharing and affirmation through presentations and roundtable discussions. President’s Council member Beverly Fink ’56 and AIF coordinator Dr. John Holzhüter represented the University during the summit as caregivers themselves.
Thursday’s programming offered a number of presentations throughout the day. “Educators as Servant Leaders” featured OU alumnus Dr. Tom Trigg ’74, 2011 Kansas Superintendent of the Year, as presenter. Those with a theatrical background or aspirations were invited to join the theatre department for a boxed luncheon theatre performance and Q&A session with OU alumna and off-Broadway actress Sarah Lemp ’00. This was followed later in the day by a Larry Peters cast party.
Community business leaders and OU business graduates were able to interact directly with business students during two sessions that focused on “Integrating Faith and Career,” while those interested or involved in student ministries were able to attend a special luncheon hosted by President Kevin Eichner to dialogue regarding “How to Strengthen Student Ministries at OU.”
Coordinated by the athletic department and sponsored by the Braves Athletic Hall of Fame, athletes and the whole student body were given the opportunity to hear former NBA and University of Kansas (Hall of Fame) basketball player Wayne Simien on Thursday night in the Fredrikson Chapel when he spoke on “Identity Crisis.”
Two staples of the Adventures in Faith event remained despite its many changes. Thursday’s chapel service again allowed each of the presenters to give a summary of their careers and the role that faith has played in them. In addition, a wrap-up service was held on Friday that included partaking of communion. Another saved tradition included several of the presenters visiting classrooms to share and interact with students, including music educator Ron Chronister ’76, who spoke to the OU choir and guest-directed a rehearsal.
Several other Ottawa University alumni were on hand throughout the three-day event, including Bob Southard ’70, a retired ABC pastor; Eric Duderstadt ’07, who works for Water Systems Engineering; Louis Young ’08 WI, vice president of sales and marketing at Process Displays, Inc; and Jason McAninch ’09 KS, owner of J-TEK.
In an Ottawa Herald column written by President Eichner prior to the event, he acknowledged the important role that faith has played in his own career. “Speaking personally, I can say that integrating my faith with my work has been a key to feeling whole and has led directly to whatever success I have enjoyed,” he said. “In fact, it led to the decision to accept the presidency of Ottawa University and hopefully guides me every day in every way.”
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