Archive for Campus News

Bluffton University Introduces New Head Football Coach

Dorrel, pictured above. 
(photo cred: Marietta College)

Denny Dorrel was introduced as Bluffton University’s new head football coach on Thursday afternoon at a press conference in front of local media outlets, university employees, and current players.

Dorrel comes to Bluffton from Hanover College in Indiana, a rival within the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). At Hanover, Dorrel served as defensive coordinator. He is also a 2001 graduate of Hanover. Last season, Hanover finished one game in front of Bluffton in both HCAC play (5-3 vs. 4-4) and in overall record (5-5 vs. 4-6).

Dorrel said that as a head coach, “the main goal is to graduate players, period.” Bluffton University Athletics Director, Phill Talavinia, said that this was one of the factors that stood out about Dorrel to the search committee for a new head coach. Talavinia said that the search committee was impressed with Dorrel’s organization and passion, along with his “focus on the student-athletes as being students first; completing their education, and winning both in life and on the field.”

“From this point forward…you are going to see a passionate program,” Dorrel said. Dorrel said that his players will be individuals who are energetic, who fly around, and who do things the right way. Dorrel also expressed that he wants the football program to be “heavily involved in the community and the campus itself.”

Dorrel expressed that he is excited to get started on getting the program “where we all expect it to be, which is winning championships.” He went on to say that “we are so excited to take Bluffton University football to unprecedented heights.”

Dorrel said that his coaching style and philosophy originates from the personalities of his parents. “My father was very tough…and demanding,” said Dorrel. Dorrel said that his father demanded discipline and understood how those traits could be positive when raising a young man. On the other hand, Dorrel explained that his mother was a very nurturing person “who would let you know how important you are.” “I combine those two (personalities) very well, I’m a perfect mixture of my parents,” Dorrel said.

“Bluffton football, from now on, is all going to be about family,” Dorrel said.

Dorrel has also served in previous coaching roles at Marietta College in Ohio and Thomas More College in Kentucky, but Bluffton is his first head coaching role at the college level. Dorrel is filling the open head football coaching vacancy at Bluffton due to the departure of Tyson Veidt, who held the position since 2008. Veidt accepted the position of linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Toledo earlier this year. Veidt posted an overall record regular season record of 20-40 as head coach at Bluffton, but was 17-15 in HCAC play since 2010. Despite a winning record in conference play since 2010, four of Veidt’s losses in that span came against Hanover.

Originally from Brookville, Ind., Dorrel said that he felt like Bluffton was home on the day he drove into town for his interview. Dorrel is married to his wife, Sarah, they have three children.


Miss America 2014 to Visit Bluffton

Nina Davuluri in Sept. 2013
(photo credit: @MissAmerica | Twitter)

Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri, will be the keynote speaker for Bluffton University’s Civic Engagement Day on Wednesday, April 9.  Her speech, which will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Sommer Center, is titled “Circles of Unity: The Celebration of Diversity through Cultural Competency.”

As the first Indian American to be voted Miss America, Miss Davuluri’s experiences are both unique and relevant to this year’s theme of race and ethnicity in America.

Tuesday morning Forum speakers have been addressing the topic throughout the school year, and Civic Engagement Day will continue to do so.

Students are excited for Miss America’s visit to Bluffton’s campus. One male student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “I can’t wait to see her in person. I might even ask her out if I get the chance.”

The event is free and open to the public.

Insight on Ukrainian Crisis at Bluffton

Ukrainian native and current resident Gala Korniyenko spoke about the situation in her home country to an audience in Bluffton University’s Kreider Room on Wednesday evening. IMG_0890

Korniyenko said that the recent demonstrations in Ukraine began because of the government’s refusal to join the European Union. “Ukraine was supposed to sign an agreement with the European Union” based on political and economic issues, but the government would not do so and the demonstrations started, Korniyenko said. This decision was heavily influenced by Russian President Vladimir Putin who has pressured Ukraine to join the Customs Union, which is the Russian controlled equivalent to the European Union.

Korniyenko went on to show pictures of the lavish mansion that Former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych and his workers lived in. Korniyenko said that in addition to political and economic reasons, Ukrainians also wanted to join the European Union because of the “injustice” they saw in their government.

Young Ukrainians have especially expressed desire for their country to be a “democratic and prosperous” one, Korniyenko said. A strong Russian interest in Ukraine is nothing new. Korniyenko said that Russia has tried to portray Ukraine as their “younger brother” for many years, claiming that they need to look after the country.

Currently, Ukrainians are starting to boycott goods from Russia. In some stores, there are flags put on goods which were made in Russia as a notice for Ukrainians not to support their oppressor, Korniyenko said. Korniyenko also said that Ukrainians were not happy that their current interim President, Oleksandr Turchynov, for letting Crimea be invaded and eventually annexed by Russia.

Korniyenko said that “Ukrainians see the United States as their biggest ally” as “there is a possibility” of a Russian invasion. Speaking on the sanctions placed on Russia by the United States, Korniyenko said that “what America has done already, means a lot to Ukrainians.” Korniyenko stressed that Ukrainians do not want the tensions between Russia and United States to escalate to the point of war. The Ukrainians that Korniyenko is speaking of primarily reside in the Western part of the country, while the Eastern population has a strong Russian influence.

The possibility of Russia cutting off gas from Ukraine and other European countries is behind the hesitation for heavier sanctions against Russia. Korniyenko explained that “some parts of Ukraine could go without Russian gas and could use coal instead,” while other parts of the country are highly dependent on Russian gas. Korniyenko currently lives in Cherkasy, Ukraine and she said that this is one area that could go without Russian gas.

From the Russian perspective, Vladimir Putin has said that the overthrowing of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was an “unconstitutional coup and a military seizure of power.” Putin also has defended the referendum vote for the annexation of Crimea, saying that “more 96 percent of voters spoke for reunification with Russia” (from The Kremlin).

The United States and other European Union member countries have not recognized the Crimean referendum as legitimate because there were no international monitors to examine the validity of the election. President Barack Obama met with European Union leaders in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday to discuss further sanctions against Russia.

Korniyenko is visiting Bluffton University this week through a connection to Professor of History, Dr. Perry Bush. Bush went to Ukraine in 2012, while there he taught American studies at Zaporozhe National University as a Fulbright scholar.

New Ensemble Puts The “Pep” into Pep Band

Pep Band

The Bluffton University Pep Band, the music department’s newest ensemble, made its debut this year playing at football games to add excitement to the game and pump up the crowd. Rob Young, a senior music education major, decided to start a pep band that would perform at athletic events, like football as well as men’s and women’s basketball games.

Under the direction of Young, the Pep Band includes a mix of music majors and non-music majors who love to play their instruments. They play popular music and stand tunes in between plays and during timeouts, as well as before the game and during halftime.

Patrick Tea, a first-year physics major, enjoys playing in the band, and knows that the crowd has enjoyed the pep band, too.

“Hearing compliments from people about doing good and knowing that they’re glad we’re there is rewarding,” Tea said.

For the future, Tea has hopes for the band and its growth.

“A bigger band and more popular music to learn would be two great goals,” Tea said.

Tea added that it would be a “better incentive” for prospective students if the band grew in the future, too.

The Pep Band practices 4-5pm on Fridays and an hour before the athletic event they expect to play at. Due to occasional conflicts, the band performs at most athletic football and basketball games.

Story by: Caitlin Nearhood

Forum 10/29: Marion Blumenthal Lazan, Holocaust Survivor

No food, no toothbrush, no baths or showers, and nothing to keep you warm for long terrorizing months that felt like years. This is what Marion Blumenthal Lazan, survivor of the Holocaust, unbelievably lived through and was here to share with us her story. She says that this story should live on and people of our generation must carry it on because it is something that never should be forgotten.

Janruary 1944, her and her family were shipped out to the concentration camp in Bergen-Belsen. It was there, where her fear really began as guards with rifles and German-Shepard’s viciously greeted them. Women had to go to one side, men on the other, so she was separated from her father and brother. They were crammed into rooms and had to share uncomfortable straw matrices with only one blanket even in the winter.

The prisoners had to line up in a large field every morning and had to stay there until every single person was accounted for. This could mean they went some days all the way until night and would not get food. Which their food was not much, one slice of bread, but it was all they were given. During the winter, they would even get frostbit and the only cure Lazan said, was pee on the body part with their own urine.

“Malnutrition, dysentery and loss of the will to go on destroyed body and mind,” Lazan said. She said it was an everyday occurrence that people would die. The women, she said, were the ones who survived the most because of their mental will to live to take care of their children. Some people would die because they could no longer go on mentally. To avoid everything bad that was going on, Lazan would play with what she called “Four Perfect Pebbles,” to keep herself hopeful that all four of her family members were going to stay alive.

“Be kind, good and respectful to one another,” Lazan said. She said if there was one thing in life to make sure you do, it was to be kind to one another. That is one of the most important things that will keep this world sane.

Story by: Lauren Volosin

Upcoming Campus Events for the Week of September 23 through the 28th

When life starts getting busy, it starts to become difficult to keep track of what’s going on. Check out a few things to give you a break from studying, practices and keep track of some Arts and Lecture Credit opportunities!

On Tuesday, September 24 hear about Cross Cultural Experiences at forum at 11 AM or 7 PM (Arts and Lecture Credits for both). Also on Tuesday there is a Women’s Soccer Game at Home vs. Grace College at 4 PM.

On Thursday evening, PALS will be sponsoring a screening of the film Call Me Crazy with a panel discussion following; Showtime is 7 PM and the event offers an Arts and Lecture Credit.

Wind down on Friday, September 27 with the Harry Potter themed Marbeck After Dark event!

By Ashlee McDonnell

New Band Director Adjusts to Bluffton

(Photo credit: Cameron University)

Dr. Roy Couch, the new visiting band director, is getting used to life in Bluffton. This year, he will be directing the Concert band and teaching a few classes, too. Coming from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, Couch is no stranger to northwestern Ohio, though. In fact, he and his wife were born and raised in Ohio, and are glad to be back.

So far, Couch enjoys being in a small town with a small university. “I get to know people better, even though there are certain challenges with being here,” said Couch, who was an assistant professor at Cameron University for five years. “My daughter likes her school, and we all love the town and are impressed with the [school] district.”

Compared to being at his previous university, Bluffton isn’t that different. “The programs are very similar with what to do with the students”, said Couch. “Cameron University is bigger than Bluffton in total, but the music department is the same size-it wasn’t a big shock when I got here.”

In addition, Couch has several goals and expectations for the Concert band this year. “I want to bring the band to university performance by building each area of the band, with more music majors to be the centerpieces of each section,” Couch stated. “Also, I want to be able to go on tour to different high schools, to help with recruiting, and so the band experiences playing their instruments off campus.”

In general, Couch wants his band members to have fun while he’s here. “I hope to make band a wonderful experience, and so we can make music together.”

Couch received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Kent State University, his master’s from the University of Akron, and his doctorate from the University of North Texas, all in tuba performance. He was principal tuba in the Allen (Texas) Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and the Firelands Symphony Orchestra in Sandusky, Ohio.

The Concert band’s first concert is October 13th at 2:30pm and will also feature the Camerata Singers. Come out and support each ensemble!

Story by Caitlin Nearhood

Bluffton University students sing for a new world

By: Rileigh Zickafoose

Bluffton University’s May Day Musical will be the production, “Songs for a New World” by Jason Robert Brown. Opening Day is May 2 at 7:30pm in Yoder Recital Hall and will be performed every night at that time through Saturday May 4. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door.

“It’s about a variety of characters facing important decisions in their Zickafoose_Pic_Zekelives…they are narrating these stories to the audience…it’s a collection of individual songs rather than a plot driven musical,” director, Melissa Friesen said.

Since there isn’t a plot in the musical, the songs create climaxes on their own to get the audience’s attention. The original production is meant for four people, but Friesen and the music director, Crystal Sellers Battles thought there was so much talent in the auditions that they cast ten people instead.

“We assigned the individuals to various songs based on the vocal range, styles, and personalities,” Battles explained.

Rebecca Juliana who works on costumes for the musical and is also in the cast explained that “the costumes are all cohesive: everyone is wearing black: the men with black suits, and the women with black dresses. Scarves and hats are also implemented in the costumes.”

Besides individual solos, there are also group numbers which include “A New World”, “On the Deck of a Spanish Sailing Ship”, “Steam Train”, “Flying Home”, and “Hear My Song”.

Everyone in the cast has at least one specific solo performance that represents their special “moment” in life.

Zeke Tracy’s song is about a man in jail, thought to be Nelson Mandela. “’King of the World’ is about a man who has been imprisoned for things that he doesn’t quite understand…he thought he was doing good in the world, but people were not happy with what he was doing,” Tracy said.

When asked what makes this musical different than any of the others performed at Bluffton, Jared Zickafoose_Pic_JaredHudson explained, “This production is different than the others because there isn’t a continuous plot and each song can stand on its own”.

The musical will be a great way to finish off the year, and the cast is excited to show their audience what they have been working on for the last few months. Since it is in Yoder Recital Hall, seating is limited, so come early!

To buy and reserve tickets for the May Day Musical, follow this link.