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Reinhardt University reflects on a strong past year, prepares for a strong 2016-2017

By Erika Neldner

Looking back on the last academic year and preparing for a new one just over the horizon, Reinhardt President Dr. Kina Mallard and her leadership team gave the State of the University Monday morning citing a history of strong academic accomplishments in the 2015-2016 academic year, new initiatives and programs, and encouraging growth in enrollment.

“I always want to say Happy New Year. There is a lot of energy that takes place at the beginning of a new academic year,” Mallard said, adding, “we are all united in one mission.”

Dr. Mallard reflected on a tumultuous summer in the United States and beyond. She said the summer brought actions that prompted the University leadership to step out and speak with one voice against violent acts. She recalled times during the summer when she looked for the inspirational moments through the darkness of violent acts in communities across the nation and virulent politics sparking outrage.

Moments like a recent meeting with Marjorie Hubbard of Woodstock, Reinhardt’s oldest living alumna, provided encouragement to Mallard in the midst of tumult. “She shared her sweet memories of Reinhardt. It was an inspirational moment,” Mallard said.

“Inspirational moments come at donor meetings and alumni events when I hear alumni and friends share their Reinhardt memories, how much Reinhardt means to them, how much Reinhardt means to their son or daughter and they brag about you, they brag about the faculty and staff who changed their lives. Those are inspirational moments for me.”

Reinhardt is coming off an inspiring academic year, where faculty and students participated in educating in communities both near and far.

During the 2015-16 academic year, faculty were a part of 69 professional and public publications or artistic performances, 72 professional and public presentations, earned 56 awards and honors inside and outside the University, participated in 73 acts of service and made 30 outstanding contributions to the learning environment. One hundred and eighty-one students were include in publications or gave performances and presentations. Seventy-three student participated in service learning projects, and 20 studied abroad.

Student-athletes achieved a cumulative 3.28 GPA during the last academic year, with 102 Academic All-Conference Athletes and 18 teams with a GPA higher than 3.0. In addition, Reinhardt had 10 NAIA All-Americans, 33 AAC/Mid-South Players of the Week, 69 AAC/Mid-South All-Conference Members, three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and a .622 winning percentage as a department.

Improvements made to the campus during the summer break to help enhance the overall Reinhardt Experience include: classroom upgrades, a new wrestling facility, the new Gin Miller Fitness Studio located at the East/West residence hall and enhanced Wi-Fi across campus. The project at Lake Mullenix will bring beautification to the campus, as well as a serene place for students to study, reflect and unwind.

Reinhardt’s leadership team, faculty and staff are gearing up for students to arrive this weekend during Eagle Bound. The 2016-17 academic year will see more than 1,400 students, including 475 new traditional students and 150 new non-traditional students in adult, online and graduate programs.

Residence halls are full, prompting the University to make way for a new residence hall slated for construction in Spring 2017.

The new academic year brings a new University Minister to Students, Rev. Ted Goshorn, who challenged the University community to live the Old Testament admonition from the prophet Micah. Student leaders Katie Purcell and Darrell Arnold read a modern day translation of Micah 6:1-8, which promises that God will lead us through the hard times and offer healing as we “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (NIV).”

“When we align our hearts with God’s heart, we foster the values we cherish the most and we instill those values in the lives that shape the Reinhardt community,” said Goshorn.

As the school year gets underway and classes begin, Reinhardt University’s leadership reminds everyone to stay true to Reinhardt’s mission of educating the whole person, don’t forget to look for the inspirational moments and remember to align your heart with God.

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