Good News – November 2018

SNU Homecoming & Family Weekend – 2018

Homecoming 2018 at SNU was packed with memories, sports, parties, reunions, royalty, concerts, and more. The weather was brisk, and the colors of autumn filled the campus. Homecoming Queen and King, Becca Janka and Bradley Crouch, were presented in the Coronation Chapel, and recognized as LiveLast student leaders. The SNU Design Department hosted an inaugural exhibit of student talent and much-anticipated events such as the Homecoming 5K, block party and bonfire filled the schedule, along with affinity group gatherings and milestone reunions.

Amy Shirola (’98), SNU’s Director of Alumni Relations, said, “We had a great time at SNU Homecoming 2018 where our athletic teams celebrated wins, old friendships were rekindled, and years were celebrated! Did you know we had our first ever 70th class reunion held with the class of 1948?”

Capping the weekend was a high-energy evening of music with The Zach Sutton Experience. A highlight of the concert was the presentation of the Outstanding Alumni Awards. Honored this year for lives lived last were John and Tracy Whitaker (’91), Gwen Patrick (’52) and Paul McGrady (’89).

Plans are already underway for next year’s festivities, according to Shirola, who said, “We hope you’ll make plans now to join us for the fun and fellowship, November 8-9, 2019.”

To connect with Alumni Relations at SNU, visit

Connecting In The Classroom – SNU Leaders Invest in Students

Stepping into the classroom this semester is SNU’s President, Dr. Keith Newman, along with several members of the Senior Leadership Team. Adding teaching assignments to schedules already filled with administrative duties, these LiveLast leaders are committed to investing time in the classroom and being good stewards of the university’s resources.

One of the benefits of the commitment, according to Dr. Newman, is the connection with students. He said, “I love spending time with our students whether in the cafeteria, at ballgames or in the classroom – it’s one of my favorite things to do; hearing their stories and cheering them on.”

Other campus leaders who are currently teaching in various departments, in an addition to their assigned duties, include Campus Pastor, Dr. Blair Spindle, and Dr. Melany Kyzer, who currently serves as Provost and Chief Academic Officer. Joining them in this initiative is Dr. Lena Crouso, Vice President for Intercultural Learning and Engagement, and Dr. Mike Redwine, SNU’s Executive Vice President. Other administrators, such as Dr. Terry Toler, Vice President for Church Relations, will be taking on a teaching assignment in the Spring semester.

Dr. Newman’s love for the New Testament led him to teach a section of the New Testament Literature and Life class. Dr. Jim Fitzgerald, Chair of the School of Theology and Ministry, said, “This class, being one of our General Education required courses, is a great way for Dr. Newman to connect with a good cross-section of our student body. We are grateful to have him partnering with us and it’s a great experience for our students to have a one-on-one connection with the president of our university.”

Dr. Fitzgerald concluded, “While it is an incredible commitment by Dr. Newman in the midst of his travel and other duties, we believe we all will reap great benefits from it!”

Honoring A LiveLast Legacy – Gwen Patrick

One of those honored with this year’s Outstanding Alumni awards was a tiny lady with a huge heart for others – Mrs. Gwen Patrick (’52). Her LiveLast legacy began in West Texas where Gwen was blessed to be raised by godly parents who had been students – and later professors – at Central Nazarene University in Hamlin, Texas, before she was born. Following in their footsteps, she graduated from Bethany Peniel College, now Southern Nazarene University, in 1953 and vividly recalls nightly prayer meetings in a makeshift chapel in her dorm that became a sacred space. A life lived for others was shaped during those years by serving with other students in an inner-city ministry, where she saw children in great need and poverty.

Gwen answered God’s call to teach children, and after assignments in Texas and Colorado, she was selected to teach overseas for the U.S. Air Force and experienced life in Japan, Turkey, Germany and England. It was in England that she met her husband, Paul, an Air Force weather forecaster. After their marriage they were assigned to several bases in the U.S. and abroad and were blessed with the birth of two children.

Paul’s retirement from military service brought them back to Bethany, where Gwen found a place to serve and minister to children at Oklahoma City’s Western Oaks Church of the Nazarene, and later, at Bethany First Nazarene, where she taught in the children’s bible study program for ten years. Paul served on staff at Southern Nazarene University for 38 years, giving them the opportunity to be New Student Mentors for thirteen of those years.

Whether in the classroom or a Sunday School room, Gwen Patrick was always a faithful servant of the Church, seeking to model Christ’s love to children and young people. Gwen has stayed active at her church as a greeter, with Paul, at Bethany First Nazarene. Reflecting on her life, Gwen said, “Teaching children has been a highlight of my journey, using the training I first received at SNU.” Thank you, Gwen, for your LiveLast legacy.

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