Cantus Femina to Perform Spring Concert

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union’s all-women choir, Cantus Femina, will present their spring concert entitled, “Contemplations,” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 in the Myers Sanctuary of the Dewald Chapel.

Cantus Femina is a dynamic musical organization comprised of more than 40 women from the University of Mount Union community. Its goals are to discover and perform outstanding repertoire for women’s voices. Recent performances include Bob Chilcott’s “This Day”and Kevin Memley’s“There Will Come Soft Rains.” Cantus Femina performs each semester of the academic year, including performances at the annual University of Mount Union Christmas Festival. No formal audition is required to participate in this ensemble.

Dr. Grant William Cook III, professor of music and director of choral activities, directs the Cantus Femina and University of Mount Union Concert Choir as well as teaches choral conducting and literature. The choirs under Cook’s direction have performed by invitation at state and regional meetings of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education, toured nationally and internationally, appeared in concert in Washington National Cathedral and performed with the symphony orchestras of Toledo and Canton. Balancing his time as a director, professor, husband and father, Cook spends his spare time with research, which has previously been published in The Choral Scholar, Choral Journal and The Beethoven Journal; he’s also presented by invitation at meetings of the Ohio Choral Director’s Association.

Contemplations will consist of seven pieces, beginning with the joyous song, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo!” Cook will then turn over the podium to senior music performance (flute) major Brianna Searing of Fort Wayne, Indiana, to conduct “Two Emily Dickenson Poems.” Performing as the flute soloist for this piece will be senior music education major Allison Bates of Minerva, Ohio.

Dr. James E. Perone, associate dean of the faculty at Mount Union, will be the clarinet soloist in “Japanese Garden.”

Two of Cantus Femina’s pieces will be sung in honor of victims of the Holocaust. “Lord of the Small” will be sung in memoriam of Abraham (“Abramek”) Koplowicz and the 1.5 million Jewish children who were victims at this time. “Dream” will be performed in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on January 17, 1945.

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mount Union’s Department of Music at (330) 823-2180.

Mount Union Plans Eighth Annual SCHOLAR Day

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union will host its eighth annual Student Celebration Honoring Our Latest Academic Research (SCHOLAR) Day on Tuesday, April 21 on Mount Union’s campus.

SCHOLAR Day is a campus-wide event filled with presentations showcasing academic excellence and scholarly research conducted by Mount Union students.

Three formal presentation sessions and two poster sessions will be included this year, highlighting 47 formal presentations and 26 posters. Presentations will represent 19 departments and programs, including Mount Union’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership (MAEL) and Physician Assistant Studies graduate programs.

This event gives students a chance to share their latest academic research with faculty, staff, students, family, friends and the surrounding communities.

SCHOLAR Day Schedule
9 – 9:45 a.m.
Poster Session I and Continental Breakfast
Giese Center for the Performing Arts

10 – 11 a.m.
Presentation Session I
Chapman Hall, Engineering and Business Building, Kolenbrander-Harter Information Center and Tolerton and Hood Hall

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Senior Recognition and Honors’ Convocation
Timken Gymnasium, McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Participant Lunch
Tented area in the Academic Mall (rain or shine)

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Presentation Session II
Bracy Hall

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
Break and Refreshments
Bracy Hall

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.
Poster Session II
Bracy Hall

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Presentation Session III
Chapman Hall, Engineering and Business Building, Kolenbrander-Harter Information Center and Tolerton and Hood Hall

SCHOLAR Day, which began in 2008, highlights the research projects of Mount Union’s undergraduate students. The continued success of this academic tradition is made possible through the generous support of George ’58 and Sally (Shrake ’59) Stradley of Hartville, Ohio and the Donald and Alice Noble Foundation of Wooster, Ohio.

SCHOLAR Day is free and open to the public. A detailed schedule of all presentations and research abstracts as well as a campus map can be found online at Programs will be available the day of the event, and guides will be stationed at all presentation facilities.

Flavil Hampsten ’01 Earns Top Sport Business Honors

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Mount Union graduate Flavil Hampsten ’01 recently earned double honors after being named to the Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and to the Charlotte Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 for 2015. 

According to, the Sport Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 was created to identify and honor the most promising young executives in sport business under the age of 40. The Charlotte Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 recognizes young professionals from the Charlotte area for the strides they are making in their careers and the contributions they have made towards civic work.

Hampsten, who majored in marketing and management at Mount Union, began his position as senior vice president of the Charlotte Hornets in 2010. In the past year, Hampsten was part of the team that brought the Hornets back to Charlotte.

Previously, Hampsten held positions with the National Basketball Association as director of team marketing and business operations, the Phoenix Coyotes as vice president of ticket sales, Comcast Spectacor as premium seating account executive and Mandalay Sports Entertainment as corporate marketing manager.

Currently, Hampsten is on the University of Mount Union Sports Business Advisory board, Baylor University’s S3 board and the Make-A-Wish board.

Previous Mount Union alumni and Sport Business Journal Forty Under 40 recipients include 2013 recipient Brent Stehlik ’99 and 2014 recipient Ed Kiernan ’96.

Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts Present Schooler Lecture

By Abigail Esposito

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Igniting passion for the arts and self-empowerment, Tony Award nominated actor Carrie Coon ‘03 and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Tony award-winning actor Tracy Letts enlightened audiences with their innovative insight on the arts at the 2015 Schooler Lecture at the University of Mount Union.

Embodying both the enthusiasm for theater and women’s rights, Coon demonstrated a firm call-to-action for women.

“While I was at Mount Union, I didn’t think that people contributed enough to the class, especially the women,” Coon said. “I was shocked by the lack of curiosity around me. I was afraid of failure and I hated that women were taught to be goody-two-shoes and not to ruffle any feathers – and that’s ridiculous.”

Letts is also a keen activist for women’s rights as he models all of his female characters after the influential women in his family.

“I have strong women in my family and they can have the ugliest of behavior,” Letts said. “But it is the heart of drama that women can illustrate on an exceptional level.”

Constantly searching for strong female roles that depict an accurate portrayal of the modern woman, Coon desires to enforce gender equality through her acting.

“I want to be a woman advocate for women,” Coon said. “I am going to keep asking and challenging. I will blaze the trail for women and gender equality in my art.”

Calling attention to the low government support of the arts, Letts stated, “Beware a government who does not fund the arts and education, for they have no compassion.”

Letts said that the freedom of artistic expression has always scared the government; however, he sees potential for improvement.

“The future for American art is strong, but we need help and support to sustain artistic expression,” Letts said. “We need diversity for females and race, we need different voices in our culture.”

Letts highlighted the true value of live theater.

“There is a distance in a movie theater where the theater stage has connection, depth, and a lasting value,” Letts said. “Theater has an honest and immediate expression, there is not substitute for the real stage; it has a different kind of impact.”

Contributing to Letts’ advice for success, Coon addressed the importance of fear and failure that occurred in the process of her success.

“Everyone is afraid to fail, but you have to overcome your fear to have honest work,” Coon said. “Accept that you will make mistakes, but know that they will lead to something great.”

Coon elaborated on her claim by stating that one must cultivate the present.

“We become present when we are caught up in a creative act,” Coon said. “You must be present and listen.”

According to Coon, cultivating the present is to be active and aware in life.

“Breathing asks what I bring to my own life so I can make an honest appraisal,” Coon. “It creates space for me when I realize I am wrong.”

Ending on a heartfelt note, Coon referred to failure as “stumbling,” since she believes the word “failure” has a negative connotation despite the fact that it can be a learning tool.

“As you are stumbling along, trying to breathe – be present, seek help, accept your strengths and weaknesses, clutch your plans close to your heart and face fear head-on.”

Engineering Students Receive Hands-On Learning in Belize

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Improving quality of life and refining engineering skills, Mount Union engineering students implemented a sustainable energy infrastructure project on their spring break trip to Belize in March.

As part of their mandatory international experience, a group of junior civil and mechanical engineering students traveled to Belize during their spring break to complete an ongoing three-year project with their Belizean collaborator, Edward P. Yorke High School.   

The project began as an ecological park project in Spring 2013 to control storm water and has since evolved to an off-the grid aquaponics system powered by solar and wind-turbine.

The current engineering juniors were given the project at the beginning of the semester and worked tirelessly until their spring break trip. The class was divided into two travel groups, with the first travel group going down during spring break and the second group to travel in May. The second travel group’s job is to complete this three-year project.   

“Our students’ work is going toward a greater purpose,” said Dr. Helen Muga, assistant professor of civil engineering. “We are meeting a need there.”

“Overall, Belize is a friendly, English-speaking country,” Muga said. “It is easy to work there; however, it is has solid waste, water and pollution issues just like any other developing country.”

This year’s project involved the design and construction of an aquaponics system powered by solar and wind energy – an off-the-grid energy system. The aquaponics system is to be used by Edward P. High School to grow and harvest fish.

“The aquaponics system we designed pumped water from a nearby pond into two separate tanks,” said senior Nathan Lorah, a mechanical engineering major of East Liverpool, Ohio. “These tanks would house fish that locals may be able to eat. The quality of the water must be tested before the fish can be eaten on the school grounds or sold as a profit. The pumps will be powered by four solar panels and one windmill. The power output from the solar panels was considerably greater than the windmill, but the windmill was a favorite with the locals.”

From mathematical equations to fieldwork experience, the skills learned in class were applied to the students’ designs during the semester as well as on site in Belize. In addition to Muga, the engineering students also had to rely on the expertise of professors from engineering and other departments as well as practitioners from industry for assistance. Students received assistance from Dr. Brandon Mitchell from the Mount Union Department of Physics, Dr. Yan Liu from the Department of Engineering and Greg Courtney of Wind Turbines of Ohio, LLC. Mark Velasquez of Belize provided invaluable field experience to the students while on site in Belize. 

“One of the main things I took away from this trip was the difference between students’ learning in the classroom and on the field,” Muga said. “You don’t see the students’ full potential until they get on site.”

One of the challenges of engineering in a developing country is that things can change and designs have to be altered while on site. That is exactly what happened to the March travel group. On their first night on the ground, they had to spend most of their night modifying and to an extent completely changing some of their designs. This was on top of 18 hours of traveling.

“The biggest thing we took away from the experience was problem solving,” said senior Jesse Cassidy, a mechanical engineering major of Painesville, Ohio. “There were many unexpected problems that came up once we landed, and we had to work together as a team to solve them. We had to draw from our experience in several different areas of engineering, such as electronics and structures, and apply this knowledge to overcome the problems and make sure the project got finished on time.”

Students also gained the useful experience of working abroad in the setting of a different culture and country.

“Living in one place your entire life can put you in a bubble,” Cassidy said. “Going abroad for this trip opened up my eyes to how the world works outside of the U.S. It's an invaluable experience not only to build your resume, but for life.”

“I enjoyed working with our students and the high school in Belize,” Muga said. “But seeing the project come to life is just priceless.”

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