LRU News

Spring Graduation to be held at LRU’s Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary

Fri May 23 2014

HICKORY, N.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary will hold spring graduation this Saturday, May 24 at Trinity Cathedral in Columbia, S.C. beginning 10 a.m. The seminary will present two honorary doctorate degrees during commencement exercises, which are open for the public to attend. A baccalaureate service will take place the evening prior, May 23 at 7 p.m. in Christ Chapel on campus in Colombia, S.C.

Presiding Bishop, Rev. Elizabeth Eaton and Chaplain, Major General Howard D. Stendahl will both receive Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa degrees. Eaton will also provide the keynote address during the commencement ceremony.

“We look for outstanding service, whether lay or clergy, to the church. In these cases, the newly elected presiding bishop of the ELCA is now serving her church in its highest office,” said the Rev. Dr. Clayton J. Schmit, provost at LTSS. “She has gone from pastor, to bishop, to presiding bishop.

“General Stendahl has also risen to the highest level of service in his area of pastoral ministry. He is the highest ranking Air Force chaplain, known as the Chief of Chaplains.”

Eaton was elected as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s fourth presiding bishop at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Born in Cleveland on April 2, 1955, Eaton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music education from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

Prior to her election, Eaton was the liaison bishop to the ELCA Church Council and a member of the ELCA Memorials Committee for the 2007, 2011 and 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assemblies. She served as a delegate to The Lutheran World Federation Assembly in Budapest in 1984, on the review team for Lutheran Episcopal dialogues in 1982, and she was a part of the delegation from the ELCA’s predecessor church bodies to the German Democratic Republic in 1982.

Chaplain Stendahl is the Chief of Chaplains, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.  As a member of the special staff of the Chief of Staff, he establishes guidance and provides advice on all matters pertaining to the religious and moral welfare of Air Force personnel. As Chief of Chaplains, he is the senior pastor for more than 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. He leads an Air Force Chaplain Corps of approximately 2,000 chaplains and chaplain assistants from the active duty and Air Reserve components. As a member of the Armed Forces Chaplain Board, he and other members advise the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on religious, ethical and quality-of-life concerns.

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Information Session to discuss new Physician Assistant program at LRU

Mon May 12 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — An information session detailing Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Physician Assistant program will be held Saturday, May 17 from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. in McCrorie Center room 213. A campus tour will be offered after the session. If you plan to tour, please plan to stay until approximately 11:30 a.m.

High-school students are encouraged to attend the open house, highlighting the unique 3+2 program, which allows students to earn a Bachelor of Science in Medical Studies and a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in just five years.

The mission of LRU’s Physician Assistant program is to educate primary care physician assistants; students originating from a diversity of faith, geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds, educationally and clinically prepared to become compassionate professionals providing quality healthcare from a holistic standpoint to populations in diverse geographic locations and for the medically underserved in local, national, and international settings.

Currently LRU has applied for Provisional Accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. (ARCPA). The Accreditation site visit is scheduled for September 2014. The ARCPA commission meets in March 2015 where provisional accreditation is granted to those developing programs who provide evidence of compliance with the ARCPA standards. The program is projected to begin in the summer of 2015.

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LR partners with the city of Hickory in education

Fri May 9 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — It’s simple: if you’re employed by the city of Hickory and you’d like to earn a master’s degree, you’ll get a discount at Lenoir-Rhyne University—and the more employees who take advantage of the program, the deeper the discount—up to 20 percent.

That’s the message Hickory employees got when the city formalized its agreement with hometown university, Lenoir-Rhyne’s LR Partners program. It’s a three-year strategic relationship, which begins in the summer of this year.

“LR’s goal is to equip Hickory employees with the qualifications necessary to take their careers to the next level while providing the city with a newly enhanced workforce consisting of the best and brightest from within its own ranks,” said LR’s Associate Director of Graduate Studies Mary Ann Gosnell.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for the employees, this university and our community.”

There are several benefits to becoming an LR partner. There’s the discount, which begins at 10 percent for the first year and can rise as high as 20 percent in year two if Hickory employees purchase 82 or more credit hours over the course of the first year.

At least 75 Hickory employees are eligible to take advantage of the LR Partners program, according to Hickory’s Communications Director Mandy Pitts.

“We are fortunate as a community to have excellent public servants working for the City of Hickory,” said Hickory City Manager Mick Berry.  “The partnership with Lenoir-Rhyne University is a great opportunity for our co-workers and also an extension of our commitment to the university’s continued growth and education.”

In addition to the discounts available LR will also waive its admission fee and the university will not require the standard admissions tests (like the GRE, GMAT or the MAT) if the prospective student has at least six years of professional work experience.

This is in addition to the city of Hickory’s longstanding tuition assistance program, which reimburses city employees’ tuition costs up to $2,000 per fiscal year as long as particular standards are met.

At this time Lenoir-Rhyne offers 22 graduate programs across three campuses—and that number grows every year.

Lenoir-Rhyne will be holding its next information session about the LR Partners program on Wednesday, May 14. The session is a lunch and learn where city employees will be able to drop by, grab some lunch, which will be provided, and learn more about the LR Partners program. The session is being held in the Hickory City Hall’s first floor meeting room at noon.

For more information contact Mary Ann Gosnell at maryann.gosnell@lr.edu or Hickory’s Employee Relations Manager Claudia Main at cmain@hickorync.gov.

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LR welcomes newest member of the Board of Trustees

Wed May 7 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — The newest member of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Board of Trustees is Joseph P. McGuire—a prominent Asheville attorney.

McGuire is deeply committed to the belief that the path to a good life is dependent upon education. It is this conviction that has convinced him to join LR’s board.

“I have been hugely impressed by LR and what they’re doing in Hickory, Asheville and Columbia as they provide an education that balances practical instruction, the sciences and the liberal arts,” he said. “I hope to serve as a main point of contact between LR and the Asheville community. I grew up here and I moved back here after college, a stint in the Navy and a job with a big firm in Atlanta.”

As a top business law attorney with business contacts and personal relationships throughout the Asheville region, McGuire is ideally positioned to help guide the development of LR’s Asheville campus.

“I view this as a great opportunity to use my talents as a lawyer and my expertise gained on the board of Brevard College and other non-profit boards to focus on LR’s Asheville campus and the entire LR community,” he said.

McGuire is the president of McGuire, Wood & Bissette. He joined the firm in 1978 and his specialty is business litigation. McGuire’s recent work has focused on a wide range of specialties including contract disputes, municipal liability, business fraud and property disputes.

His clients have included The City of Asheville, Buncombe County and Historic Biltmore Village. Being named among Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite and a North Carolina Super Lawyer for several years are just a few of the professional honors and awards that McGuire has earned over the years.

When he’s not at work for his clients McGuire is serving his community. He serves on a wide range of boards from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County to the Leadership Asheville Forum. He previously served on a number of boards including the Center for Diversity Education at UNC-Asheville and the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

McGuire attended Harvard Law School after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill. He was admitted to the North Carolina Bar Association in 1975. He was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia the following year.

“Joe McGuire is one of the most distinguished attorneys in the Asheville community. He has great insight into the needs of Asheville and how Lenoir-Rhyne can provide the optimal services to the region through its Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville. He has spent a lifetime in service to his community and specifically to higher education,” said Lenoir-Rhyne University President Wayne Powell. “Joe is a leader—he is a man of vision and he will bring those qualities to bear as our newest member of our Board of Trustees. We are honored to have him here with us.”

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Series of virtual open houses offered at LRU’s new Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia

Mon May 5 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Lenoir-Rhyne University’s new Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia will present a series of virtual open houses highlighting its Counseling Program beginning this Friday, May 9 from noon to 1 p.m. Those seeking a professional degree aimed at helping others work through their challenges to reach a healthier state of mind should attend.

Each virtual open house session will introduce enrollment counselors, the Dean of the Graduate School, and highlight various opportunities available to you at the Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia. Information about financial aid opportunities, degree programs, and campus housing will also be provided. Sessions are expected to last approximately one hour.

May Virtual Open House Dates

May 9: Noon to 1pm

May 28: 7pm to 8pm

Virtual open houses for the Center for Graduate Studies of Columbia will continue throughout the summer and include the following dates:

June 13: Noon to 1pm

June 25: 7pm to 8pm

July 11: Noon to 1pm

July 23: 7pm to 8pm

Go to Columbia.lr.edu to register. Contact Kohl Friery or Jenn Casey at 803-461-3297 for more information. Applications are now being accepted for Summer and Fall 2014.

About the Counseling Program

The CACREP accredited LRU Master of Arts degree in clinical mental health counseling is designed to prepare individuals for positions as professional counselors in agencies within the community. The counseling program places primary emphasis on the development of strong clinical skills. Upon receiving the Master of Arts degree in counseling, students will meet course work requirements for eligibility to take the examination to become a National Board Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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Choosing a new direction to fix U.S. healthcare – It’s time to treat the mind AND the body

Thu May 1 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — One of this nation’s most pernicious problems is dwindling returns from our healthcare dollars. American medical care is pricey and, when compared to the rest of the world, just not that good.

“The U.S. has the most expensive healthcare system in the world—it’s almost twice as expensive on a per capita basis as the second most expensive nation,” said LR’s professor of psychology Dr. Gordon Cappelletty. “But we’re No. 37 in terms of outcome. We’re paying for a Maserati and we’re getting a beat-up VW.”

One big problem is that those who have no healthcare wait until their medical problem becomes so severe that it can no longer be ignored. And that’s expensive. Another big problem is that our healthcare system is fragmented. We treat mental healthcare and physical healthcare like they’re stepsiblings.

“We know that people with mental health problems are the most expensive medical patients we have,” Cappelletty said. “Mental health problems, left unattended, become physical healthcare problems. Now there’s a movement to bring mental healthcare and physical healthcare together. They should coexist.”

Here’s an example of how stress can become a physical illness, according to Cappelletty:

A stressor causes the hippocampus to respond by excreting a chemical receptor known as CRF, which impacts the pituitary gland, and depresses the immune system while increasing cortisol and adrenaline. If the chemicals keep flowing they can cause high blood pressure, impaired kidney function and a decreased ability to resist infection among other problems like diabetes and heart disease.

And the first place patients with panic disorder go when their condition flares up is the emergency room—they’re convinced they’re having a heart attack. Days and thousands of dollars in tests later the patient will be diagnosed with an easily-treatable mental health condition. It’s a similar story with depression. The first stop for many who are depressed is their doctor’s office. They go because they’re having frequent headaches—a common symptom of depression. Many stop at the doctor’s office having addressed the symptom, but never go on to get the mental healthcare they need to solve the underlying problem.

The coexisting model has already been tried with significant success, in Europe, and it’s brought healthcare costs down significantly.

“France and Germany are doing this and their healthcare system costs them about half of what it costs us here,” Cappelletty said. “It’s estimated that one in every four or five people who come into a doctor’s office complaining about chronic health problems are also suffering from mental health problems—and many of them are never treated for the underlying cause of their health problems.”

One way Lenoir-Rhyne is working to address the potential benefits of healthcare integration is through the design of the school’s new physician assistant program.

“We anticipate student exposure to psychiatric conditions not only during their didactic – 1st year course work—but also in several core clinical rotations, which include; Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Women’s Health, Behavioral Medicine and Internal Medicine,” said LR’s Chair of Physician Assistant Studies Program Helen Martin. “The PA program has obtained clinical affiliation agreements with several Psychiatric/Mental Health Facilities in the Hickory and Asheville area. These facilities will help educate physician assistant students who will help eliminate the shortage of healthcare providers.”

A fully-integrated mental health and physical health establishment would look like a typical doctor’s office except for the fact that the space is shared by mental health professionals who work in tandem with their fellow medical professionals.

“If you’ve got four or five doctors along with physician assistants and nurses they’d be working alongside two or three mental health counselors,” Cappelletty said. “They need to be there because if a doctor’s trying to get someone who’s dealing with depression or anxiety, or they’re borderline psychotic they’re not going to respond to a doctor’s orders nearly as well as a mentally healthy patient.

He’d like to address the problem here in his own backyard. He wants to follow the integrated model that’s proven successful at East Tennessee University.

“We’re much better than we were 30 years ago,” Cappelletty said. “In general people are much more willing to see a counselor. Some are still leery of psychiatrists, less so of psychologists. They’re much more open to seeing a ‘counselor.’”

Today there’s a major roadblock to mental and physical healthcare integration in North Carolina: funding.

“Right now under state DHHS regulations Medicaid won’t pay for mental healthcare that’s provided in a doctor’s office,” Cappelletty said. “Until the regulations are changed it will be impossible for healthcare professionals to adopt a truly integrated model, but we are working to change that.”

Medical and mental health professionals have the same goal: They want to care for their patients.

Information sessions on LR’s new Physician Assistant program will be held on May 17 and June 7 from 9 – 10 a.m. in the McCrorie Center room 213. During the session details will be given on the Bachelor of Science in Medical Studies (3+2 program), which allows students to graduate in five years with both an undergrad and graduate level degree. To register for the sessions visit LR.edu/PAsession.

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View Stars, Planets and the Moon at LRU

Mon Apr 28 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — Lenoir-Rhyne University in conjunction with the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club is sponsoring a Public Observing Night on Friday, May 9 at the LR Observatory on top of Minges Science Building. This free event will begin at 8:30 pm and conclude at approximately 11:00 pm.

The public is invited to come to the top of Minges Science Building where several telescopes will be set up in addition to the 12.5 inch Cassegrain telescope in the observatory dome.  To access the rooftop observatory, enter the building then take the elevator to the 4th floor and come up the steps.

Television monitors should be available outside the observatory for many people to view the sites. In addition telescope views will be streamed live to Classroom Minges 107, where they can be viewed on a large screen.  Should weather not permit observing, an alternate program will be offered in room Minges 118 for those interested.

During this viewing, participants will have the opportunity to observe a waxing gibbous moon, Mars, the red planet, Jupiter and its moons. Those who come early may also catch a glimpse of Mercury. Saturn is expected to be rising around 8:30 p.m. If visibility permits, several impressive star clusters may also be visible

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LR spotlights student research – Public invited to attend presentation

Fri Apr 25 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — From the link between ADHD and premature birth to Native Americans and the U.S. criminal justice system—from lung function in swimmers and runners to quality of life in nursing homes, Lenoir-Rhyne’s students have covered a broad range of topics in their student research this year. On April 29 that research will be on display for the campus and the community.

Classes are canceled during LR’s sixth-annual Symposium on University Research and Creative Expression so that its students and faculty can attend the presentations—and the public’s invited as well. The presentations will begin at 1 p.m. and run through 6 p.m.

“SOURCE demonstrates our commitment to student development so that every student on campus has the ability to do independent research and present it on campus,” said LR Psychology Professor and this year’s SOURCE committee chair Dr. Professor Amy Hedrick. “It’s a true celebration of what our students have done and the opportunity to work with a faculty mentor.

Other schools encourage their students to assist in their professors’ research, but at LR professors assist students in their chosen fields.

“At some larger institutions students can participate in research, but it is usually to further the research of faculty members,” said SOURCE founder, professor and Associate Dean for Engaged & Global Learning, Charlotte Williams. “Our professors are extremely student-focused.”

Students from all disciplines—from the arts to health sciences to mathematics—take part in SOURCE.

“It’s nice for our students to see that research doesn’t take just one shape—it takes many shapes,” Williams said. “The real purpose of SOURCE is to prepare our students for graduate school, post graduate studies and real life.”

And it’s a way to let the students, faculty and community have experiences they may not otherwise be privy to—like listening to the son of the newly-elected president of Costa Rica deliver a talk on the Costa Rican political process.

“This isn’t a competition, but it does prepare our students to present at larger regional conferences where speakers do compete against one another,” Williams said. “We’re giving them a safe zone before they go out into a competitive environment.”

SOURCE Schedule:

  • 12:30-1 p.m.: Welcome Reception (Belk Centrum Lobby: Sponsored by LR Graduate School)
  • 1-2 p.m.: Student Research Presentations Session 1
  • 2:15-3:15 p.m.: Keynote Presentation – “Experiences in Research: Moving from Theory to Practice” Dr. Gordon Cappelletty, Amanda Young, Laura Martorano, & Lindsay Kozak
  • 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Student Research Presentations Session 2
  • 4:45-6 p.m.: Student Research Presentations Session 3
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LRU’s Asheville Campus to Present Seventh Annual Wordfest

Thu Apr 24 2014

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Seventh Annual Asheville Wordfest features more than 30 local and regional poets, authors, musicians, and storytellers. The festival will take place over the course of three days between Friday, May 2 and Sunday, May 4 at the Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville. The days will be filled with readings, workshops, and activities.

An entire space devoted to youth writers and poets marks the festival’s commitment to literacy, self-expression, and confidence-building for young people. A poetry animation program will present the work of students at Hall Fletcher Elementary and other programs. Committed to a mission of equality, the line-up features a 50-50 split between male and female presenters with one-third of all being non-white.

The festival is dedicated to the memory of Laurey Masterton, a long-time friend of many in Asheville, as well as an entrepreneurial pioneer. Masterton passed away after her third battle with cancer earlier this year.

Asheville Wordfest is directed by Laura Hope-Gill, who also directs the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir-Rhyne University. “The festival resonates with Lenoir-Rhyne’s commitment to diversity and is a project of the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.”

North Carolina Arts Council is a supporter of the festival. Other sponsors include Katuah Market, Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe, and Fine Arts Theatre.

An outdoor event, Our Voice Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Asheville, will take place May 3. “It’s a chance for people to talk the talk that goes with the walk,” said Hope-Gill.

“Wordfest isn’t just for writers. It’s a festival about stories, and we all have those. Wordfest is a place where we can get in touch with them, find ways to tell them, and share them with each other. That’s why it’s a festival about what makes life worth living. We live for the connections, for the story of it all.” To this end, Hope-Gill frames readings and workshops not by accolade or fame of the presenters but by relevance to real life.

Patti Digh, author of Geography of Loss, will kick off the festival with a reading from her book in honor of Laurey Masterton, followed by a community reading of Masterton’s own writings. Anyone interested in reading can show up with a selection. People are also invited to bring a dish from one of the chef’s cookbooks.

Presenters include: Irania Patterson, Connie Regan-Blake, Aimee Nezhukumnatatathil, Duende Mountain Duo, Lisa Bruer, Janet Hurley, Slam Asheville Youth, Poetry Out Loud, Brave New Voices, Kurma Morrain-Collins, Tracey Schmidt, Helen Losse, Cynn Chadwick, Phyllis Utley, Chelsea LaBate, Byron Ballard, Laura Blackley, Jadwiga McKay, David Hopes, Ann Dunn, Ekua Adisa, Patti Digh, Griffin Payne, Jaki Shelton Green, Dale Neal, Jose Vasquez, Tommy Hays, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Geri Littlejohn and more.

For a full schedule and list of presenters, visit ashevillewordfest.com.

To volunteer and request special assistance, contact laura.hopegill@lr.edu.

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Grace blossoms in the heart of LR – University names newest building “Grace Chapel”

Wed Apr 23 2014

HICKORY, N.C. — As Lenoir Rhyne’s latest construction project comes into its final months the University has announced the chapel’s name.

The building that sits in the center of campus and symbolizes the institution’s ongoing determination to remain committed to its Christian roots will henceforth be known as: Grace Chapel.

While the name Grace is prevalent among churches in the Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America, with which LR is affiliated, LR is the very first Lutheran university in America to name its on-campus house of worship Grace.

LR’s leadership determined at the outset that its chapel would not be a naming opportunity for any individual. Other universities have named their chapels after saints, donors or assorted theological concepts, but Lenoir-Rhyne stands alone in its unique embrace of Grace—a name chosen over more than 20 ecclesiastical choices suggested.

LR’s Chapel Name Task Group was issued a simple but difficult job:

Select a name that would:

1. Endure through the ages

2. Show inclusiveness of all of God’s people

3. Be unique

4. Represent all that we believe

Early on the group decided it was important to select a name that would actually be used instead of becoming a formality while people refer to the structure as “the chapel.”

“The concept of grace refers to God’s unmerited favor, but there’s more to it than that,” said LR’s Campus Pastor Dr. Andrew Weisner. “It is a concept that permeates the Old Testament, and its Greek root, charis, is found no fewer than 152 times in the New Testament. God’s grace also accounts for His goodness, providence and leadership. Moments of grace abound throughout the Bible including the New and Old Testaments. And the theological concept of grace forms the foundation of Augustinian, Reformation, and Lutheran theology.”

There is perhaps no greater concept in scripture than that of grace.

“For adherents of any religion, but especially Christians, grace is at the heart of the relationship between humans and God,” said the Chair of LR’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr. David Ratke. “God reaches out to humans because God loves humans and indeed loves all of creation. Naming the chapel ‘Grace’ reminds believers everywhere that God welcomes everybody. The name ‘Grace Chapel’ proclaims to all, ‘You are welcome!’”

The name represents a claim held by Lenoir-Rhyne, Lutheranism and other churches: God’s abundant grace is given to all. All adornments of LR’s chapel, and all activities within – from the simplest to the most sublime – will be instances of “God’s grace.”

“I think we sometimes assume grace is reserved for special occasions, for when we’ve really messed up and want God to love us again as if, contra St. Paul, we have indeed separated ourselves from the love of God,” said LR’s theology professor and Director of Youth and Family Ministry Program Dr. Mindy Makant. “But grace isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card; grace isn’t God loving us again despite our sinfulness. Grace is at the center of all that is. Grace is God’s creative and sustaining work in and among us, whether we recognize it or not.”

The concept of grace is in direct opposition to that human impulse that convinces us that once we do enough good things that we can achieve the status of “good enough” and God will have no choice but to accept us on our own terms.

“Grace in the biblical tradition is God taking the initiative to reach out to humanity. It’s the beginning point for faith. Without it, there is no faith or redemption,” said LR religion professor Dr. Jonathan Schwiebert. “In the Hebrew Bible grace is known as ‘lovingkindness,’ God’s faithfulness to God’s people. In the New Testament, God’s grace takes the form of Christ coming to humanity and taking upon himself human weakness for our sake. Here God reaches out even to people who are alienated from God, and brings them home.”

It is LR’s hope that grace will abound in its chapel.

“Everything that goes on in there will be moments of God’s grace—the play on words will be delightfully rich,” Weisner said. “When we’re holding services in the chapel and I say ‘Here we are in the midst of God’s Grace,’ I will be referring to God’s lavish goodness and love as well as the physical building surrounding us.”

The chapel’s name represents the University’s mission, which extends beyond the walls of any one of LR’s buildings.

“LR attempts to be a means of grace. Goodness comes to the participants of LR’s community through their connection to Lenoir-Rhyne,” Weisner said. “From the members of the community who partake in the Visiting Writers Series and the Concert Series to the students who enroll in classes at LR, our community is enriched by God’s grace, which is evident on this campus.”

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