Mount Union Welcomes OSAAPT to Campus October 1

The University of Mount Union is excited to host the Ohio Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (OSAAPT) for its annual fall meeting. This meeting will feature workshops and talks led and attended by prominent physics educators from high schools and universities in Ohio. It will be held in Bracy Science Hall on the Mount Union campus with sessions held in the new introductory physics laboratories, which are designed to allow students to actively learn physics using computers and sensors for data collection and analysis.

The mission of OSAAPT is to share good teaching practice and ideas for the physics classroom on a high school or university level. OSAAPT supports the advancement of the teaching of physics, the furtherance of appreciation of the role of physics in our culture and the exchange of information and ideas among the members of the physics community of Ohio. They meet in the fall and spring each year, and this is the second time that Mount Union has hosted the meeting.

Mount Union’s Department of Physics and Astronomy features hands-on, activity-based experiences for students at all levels. This includes setting up and using advanced laboratory equipment, a dedicated electronics laboratory and a rooftop observatory for astronomy. Advanced courses for majors and minors provide rigorous mathematical and applied training in a small classroom environment designed for student success. Student research projects revolve around their interests and aspirations, which helps develop the individual for success at taking projects from an idea through to a final result.

Based on surveys with 78 percent of graduates self-reporting, 100 percent of physics majors from the classes of 2010-2014 were accepted into graduate school or started a degree-required career within six months of graduation. Graduates often go on to have careers in engineering, medicine, astrophysics, astronomy, applied physics and education. In addition to the physics program, Mount Union has strong programming in the natural sciences along with its accredited mechanical and civil engineering programs.

Azar Nafisi Inspires at 2016 Eckler Lecture

ALLIANCE, Ohio - On Tuesday, September 20, Azar Nafisi, a national bestselling author and professor of aesthetics culture and literature presented at the annual Eckler Lecture in the Brush Performance Hall of the Giese Center for the Performing Arts. 

The presentation was opened by Mount Union President Dr. W. Richard Merriman who gave a brief history of the Eckler Lecture Series. The lecture was established in 1981 through an endowment given by Mr. John A. and Mrs. Dorothy (Nelson ’29) Cummins in appreciation of the many years of service to the community and Mount Union by the Ecklers. Dr. Eric A. and Mrs. Mary Eckler were long-time faculty members in the Department of Education at the institution. Dr. Merriman then welcomed sophomore Lexi to the podium who gave an overview on Nafisi and her accomplishments.

Nafisi started off her presentation by discussing how the arts and literature allow us to enter a third space that transcends time, gender, race, and religion. She continued that, by entering this third space, we can enter a world that expands our creativity and challenges us to think more outside the box. Nafisi then challenged democracy by stating, “How can democracy survive without creative imagination?” If we wish to continue and have a vision for ourselves, we need to take risks; that’s how we grow.

Since Nafisi’s time in the United States, she has made two commitments to herself. The first being she had to define herself as an American. If she didn’t define herself, someone else would, which could drastically change her life. She asked how could someone, who barely knows her, define who and what she is? Secondly, her love for the United States made her see flaws within it, but instead of complaining about the flaws, she would make a change.

Nafisi also touched on how the humanities have fallen into danger in our culture. She began to talk about how we as U.S. citizens have rights to a free quality education, but that those in poorer school distracts don’t necessarily receive this level of quality. With programs such as arts, music and literature almost gone due to budget cuts, Nafisi asked, how would they know their rights or what’s in the constitution without these teachings?

In her conclusion, Nafisi showed pictures of herself and friends graduating from school in the early 1990s and described what they had to endure to get to where they are today. She then had a picture of a mother and described her trials and hardships and the ways in which she fought for the rights of women in Iran. She showed pictures of the Iranian social movement, My Stealthy Freedom, which fights for the rights for Iranian women to decide when and if they want to wear their hijab. She ended with a YouTube video showing Iranian men and women dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams with and without hijabs. She then explained that several hours later, they were arrested and put in jail for disobeying their government.

Mount Union Celebrates Constitution Day

Dr. William CunionALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union celebrated Constitution Day by welcoming Dr. William Cunion to speak in front of community members and students on Friday.

Cunion was an associate professor of political science at Mount Union for 11 years and is currently the associate dean of liberal arts at the Cuyahoga Community College Eastern Campus. His topic centered around how the United States Constitution is not the fault of modern political tensions in the United States.

Cunion began his speech with discussing the political climate now as it relates to the Constitution. He stated, “The Constitution is very well designed. In fact, I think it’s almost incredible in a historical context in which they operated. The lack of previous models they had to work from… [makes it] astonishing that we still live under that same Constitution that was created in 1787 by a society in which the largest cities in the entire country were no bigger than Alliance.”

Part of his speech was devoted to discussing the concepts of the electoral college. Cunion mentions that the Constitution’s founders had the most trouble deciding how the president would be elected. The founders realized that the president would be a very powerful person, and their two options of election would be by Congress selection or popular vote. The founders revisited this issue 17 times over the course in which the Constitution was written before they decided to implement the electoral college.

Cunion said that in the beginning, the electoral college did not work as it was supposed to, but, as Alexander Hamilton said in the Federalist Papers, “If the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent.”

Cunion went on to say that history developed in a way the founders did not see coming: “We have the right system, but we’re in a political environment with unhealthiness and political dysfunction.” Many Americans are uneasy about the current presidential candidates, but Cunion argues that the problem is not due to the Constitution, but due to other political developments. He proposed three possibilities that could change the climate: a return to Constitutional principles, a hope for a conciliatory leader and a constitutional revision.

However, he says, “Although I feel a lot of despair about the choices in front of us this November, I remain very optimistic about this country… It’s incredible that [through] changes and some catastrophic moments…the Constitution held… It’s incredible that we still live under that Constitution that was built in 1787. I think that is not only a testament to the founders, but also to the people in this country."

Mount Union to Honor 2016 Service Award Recipients October 8

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The Office of Alumni Engagement at the University of Mount Union has announced Gordon Brollier, Susan Denning and Luke Messner as itsService Award recipients for 2016.

The award recipients will be recognized at the Alumni Brunch on Mount Union’s campus on Saturday, October 8 at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 2-9.

Established in 1942, the Alumni Service Awards are presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievement in a chosen or professional field and for service to the University or the community. The awards represent the highest non-academic honor an alumnus/alumna can receive from Mount Union.

Brollier, of Hudson, will recieve the Dodie Davis Alumni Award. Denning, of Alliance, will receive the McKinley Service Award. Messner, of Akron, will receive the Young Alumni Award.

Brollier earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Union in 1973 majoring in Biology. He is the retired president for the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC). He has been the president of OFIC since July 2010, having served as vice president for development since August 1991. 

Prior to his tenure at OFIC, Brollier served as vice president for development at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and as a development officer at Mount Union. While at Mount Union, he also served as alumni secretary, director of development and acting director of admission.

Brollier is a member of the Forever Mount Society, which recognizes committed donors who have made gifts to the University of Mount Union for 25 years or more.

Denning is a Ravenna High School graduate and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and corrections from Kent State University. She continued her education and graduated with a Master of Science in social administration with a management focus from Case Western Reserve University in 1999.

Denning served as executive director of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, working for ten years at the Family and Community Services of Catholic Charities in Kent. She was then hired at Mount Union, and was named director of advancement and put in charge of stewardships.

Currently, Denning serves as the director of institutional effectiveness at the Mount Union. In this position, she oversees action plans to assure that the university is continuously improving, whether the focus is on staff performance or improving student success.

In addition to her current responsibilities, Denning is also the accreditation liaison officer to the Higher Learning Commission. She also teaches in the department of sociology, including a class on grant writing. Community development was a big part of her earlier years, and she continues to be involved in Alliance to promote the Mount Union brand and its campus community.

She is a member of the YWCA of Alliance, where she has served for 15 years and continues to be a vocal supporter. Denning is also involved in Kiwanis, which she initially joined in 2000 at the urging of Mount Union. She has served as the local chapter twice as president and currently the treasurer. She is a loyal supporter of the Mount Union Fund and has been a member of the 1846 Society.  

Messner earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with Cum Laude honors from Mount Union in 2009 majoring in political science and minoring in philosophy and pre-law. 

While a student, Messner was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Student Senate, Campus Crusade for Christ, College Republicans and Pre-Law Society.  He received honors of Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-Law Honorary), Phi Sigma Alpha, the Charles J. Ping Service Award and the Dean's List.  Luke serves as president at TKM Print Solutions, Inc. 

Messner first started working with TKM, a family-owned business, as a student in 2008. After graduating from Mount Union in 2009, he joined TKM full-time and became president in January of 2016. 

Messner is the partnership chair for AAF-Akron (American Advertising Federation) and a member of the Tadmor Shrine Circus Committee. He has supported the Mount Union Fund and has earned membership into the 1846 Society.  

For more information, a full schedule of events and to register for the brunch, visit alumni.mountunion.edu or contact the office at alumni@mountunion.edu.

UMU to Feature Speaker for Constitution Day

ALLIANCE, Ohio - Dr. William Cunion, associate dean of the liberal arts at Cuyahoga Community College, will be speaking at the University of Mount Union’s Constitution Day on Friday, September 16 at 3.30 p.m. in the Newbold Room of the Hoover-Price Campus Center.

Cunion, a former faculty member of Mount Union’s Department of Political Science and International Studies, will have feature a talk titled, “Election 2016: Don’t Blame the Constitution.” The Constitution is the heart of America, it is the document that connects the people from all walks of life. The celebration of Constitution Day is formally recognized on September 17 but with the day falling on a Saturday, the institution moved the program to Friday.

The event is free and open to the public, there will also be refreshments provided at 4 p.m. For further questions contact Abby Honaker, Director of the Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement at honakeal@mountunion.edu