NWC graduates largest class

Northwestern College graduated the largest class in school history when 297 diplomas were awarded to students at commencement exercises on Saturday, May 14. Bachelor of Arts degrees were given to 293 students; four Associate of Arts degrees in office management also were awarded.

The class of 2005 experienced a record rate of acceptance into graduate and professional schools. Over 35 were admitted to schools that include Boston University, Princeton and Vanderbilt.

Dr. Jim Mead, assistant professor of religion at Northwestern, addressed the graduates. Mead, last year’s recipient of the Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award, joined the faculty in 2000 after spending 12 years in ministry. The recipient of a doctorate in Old Testament studies from Princeton Theological Seminary, Mead is writing an introductory textbook for biblical theology.

Four 2005 graduates received Faculty Honors during the commencement ceremony. Luke Espelund of Spirit Lake, Mary Kummerfeld of Sutherland, Carrie Stromley of Rockwell and Aaron Willems of Polk City were recognized.

The Faculty Honors award is bestowed upon graduates who excel in academic achievement, Christian influence, general attitude and participation in worthwhile campus activities. The highest honor the faculty gives to graduating seniors, it is determined by a vote of the entire faculty.

Espelund, a biology-health professions major, led the Future Physicians Club and served as a science tutor. He participated in Spring Service Projects in Brazil and Texas, and he returned to Brazil through the Summer of Service program in 2003 to work in an orphanage. Espelund was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in 2004. The recipient of Northwestern’s Dr. and Mrs. E.B. Grossmann Sr. Endowed Scholarship and Dr. Edward Van Eck Pre-Med Scholarship, he will begin studies at the University of Iowa’s medical school this fall.

Kummerfeld, an applied design major, received the Outstanding Self-Initiated Major Award from the business department at Honors Convocation earlier this month. President of the Sigma Tau senior honor society, she received the Dorothy Van Eck Art Scholarship for 2003-04. She earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors in cross country and basketball while also participating on the Red Raider track team. A member of Northwestern’s regional champion Students in Free Enterprise team, Kummerfeld participated in a Spring Service Project this March in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Stromley received the Outstanding Psychology Major Award at this year’s Honors Convocation. A member of the basketball team, she also received Northwestern’s Christian Woman Athlete Award and was the college’s nominee for the Liston Award, which is presented annually to a junior basketball player based on scholarship, character and playing ability. A Who’s Who honoree, she also participated on the Campus Ministry Team, sang in the Women’s Choir and served as a student ambassador. Stromley participated in a Summer of Service project in India in 2004. An NAIA Scholar-Athlete in basketball, she has been accepted into Purdue University’s graduate program in speech and language pathology. Stromley will attend the University of Iowa as an undergraduate this fall to complete prerequisites for graduate school.

Willems, a humanities major, was a member of the Sigma Tau senior honor society. An academic tutor, he also participated in the A cappella Choir, Symphonic Band and Jazz Band. Willems ministered in India through the Summer of Service program in 2003. He received Northwestern’s H.V.E. Stegeman Award at this year’s Honors Convocation for having the highest grade point average among graduating seniors in at least 16 hours of religion courses. He was awarded the William Dykshorn Jr. Scholarship, the Nelvina Ver Steeg Thomas Scholarship and the Nelvina Ver Steeg Thomas Mission Scholarship. Willems plans to attend the Graduate Institute for Applied Linguistics in Dallas, preparing for a career as a Bible translator.