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Cornerstone University Alumni Journal 2021

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SUMMER

2021

“Christ-centered higher

education is one of

the highest callings and

noblest endeavors

in which a follower of

Jesus Christ can serve.”

DR. GERSON MORENO-RIAÑO

STORY ON PAGE 5.


IN THIS ISSUE:

FROM THE ALUMNI

RELATIONS OFFICE

03 Dr. Joe Stowell Letter

04 Alumni Relations Letter

05 Introducing Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño

06 Alumni Celebrate Dr. Joe Stowell

ALUMNI STORIES

10 1960s, 1970s and ‘80s

11 1990s

16 2000s

17 2010s

23 2020s

FEATURE STORIES

12 Terri (Burns, B.A. ’81) Fowler

A Life Ordained by God

14 Sandra Gaddy (B.A. ’99)

How Faith Operates

18 Brad Gray (B.A. ’02)

Advancing God’s Kingdom

20 Joe Jones (M.A. ’12)

Power in Learning

24 Shomari Tate (M.A. ’21)

Mentoring the Next Generation

COMMENCEMENT

26 Ceremonies Featurette

28 Class of 2021

2021 ALUMNI JOURNAL STAFF

CAROLINE CAHOON (B.A. ’03)

Art Director

LAYNE FULLER

Director of Marketing

KRISTINA GARVELINK (M.S. ’15)

Website Manager and Content Coordinator

DENNIS GRAHAM (B.A. ’05, M.B.A. ’12)

Director of Alumni Relations

JORDAN GROOTERS (B.S. ’17, M.B.A. ’19)

Communications Manager

BOB SACK

Vice President for University Advancement

AUDREY WIERENGA (B.A. ’18)

Copywriter

PHOTOGRAPHY:

Benji DeYoung (B.A. ’19)

Coastline Studios

Stephen Norregaard

Ryan Prins Photography

Permission to quote short portions of this publication

is granted as long as content is preserved and proper

credit is given to the Alumni Journal.

Cornerstone University does not discriminate on the

basis of race, national origin, sex, age or disability in its

policies and programs.

CONTACT US

cornerstone.edu/alumni

alumni@cornerstone.edu

616.222.1439

Cornerstone University

Office of Alumni Relations

1001 E Beltline Ave NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49525

© 2021 Cornerstone University.

All rights reserved.

This summer, we welcome Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño

as the 12th president of Cornerstone University.

Dr. Joe Stowell left an indelible footprint on

Cornerstone’s campus. Now, we look to a new

season with Dr. Moreno-Riaño. By maintaining

Christ’s preeminence and supporting the

transformative environment of Cornerstone,

Dr. Moreno-Riaño will continue the legacy

of all the faithful leaders who came before him.


Beloved Cornerstone alumni,

As I sit at my desk on my last day in the office, my heart is full of gratitude for the privilege of serving our students,

faculty and staff for these last 13 years. It has been a delight to see our Lord prosper the work of our hands and

to enjoy the company of such awesome students, a highly impactful faculty who have loved our students and

a competent leadership team who have made so many of our dreams a reality. And, as alums, your words of

encouragement, financial support and prayers have played an important role as well.

So this is my thank you to you, to all of our alumni who have represented Cornerstone well through the decades

and lived out our mission so effectively. I have always been proud—in a biblical sort of way—to be known as

your president!

In this edition of the Cornerstone University Alumni Journal, you’ll find stories of people just like you who live out

their calling every day—not just in their nine-to-five jobs, but in every aspect of their lives. By treating others with

dignity and respect, by serving those around them with opportunities to succeed and by bringing individuals closer

to the heart of Christ, they light up their world to the glory of Christ our Redeemer.

It is also my privilege to use this journal to introduce you to Cornerstone’s 12th president, Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño!

It has been a joy to get to know him and his wife, Ellen, as they become accustomed to West Michigan and as Dr.

Moreno-Riaño transitions into this role. I can’t wait to see where Cornerstone goes in this new chapter. Martie and I

will continue to be its most enthusiastic cheerleaders!

It has been my highest reward to see you, our alumni, making a difference in your areas of influence. May our Lord

bless and keep you!

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

03

With gratitude,

Dr. Joe Stowell

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands

for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.”

— Psalm 90:17

PICTURED: Dr. Stowell reminiscing with 2020 graduates Mordecai Njoroge, Madison Johnson and Cecilia Calzada Munoz during the May 2021

commencement ceremonies.


CELEBRATING

THE PAST,

ANTICIPATING

THE FUTURE

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

04

DEAR CORNERSTONE

ALUMNI,

This season at Cornerstone University has us

saying a lot of “goodbyes” and “see you laters.”

On April 30, May 1 and May 8, we saw hundreds

of graduates cross the stage from the classes of

2020 and 2021. It was an incredible opportunity

to welcome back students to celebrate graduation

after last year’s events were unfortunately

canceled. This year, both classes enjoyed a

memorable send-off!

We are also honoring and recognizing

Dr. Joe Stowell’s retirement after 13 years as

CU’s president. This has been bittersweet as

we remember all of the outstanding service

Dr. Stowell has given Cornerstone.

At the same time, we celebrate the arrival of

Cornerstone’s 12th president, Dr. Gerson Moreno-

Riaño! We are so excited as he transitions into

this role, and we can’t wait for all of you to

meet him!

In the midst of a noteworthy spring, God

continues to richly bless our university and our

alumni. Our goal for this upcoming year is to find

more opportunities to invite you back to campus

and to network with one another. In addition to

Homecoming & Family Weekend on Oct. 22-23,

we’re working on ways to connect more alumni

across the region through after-work gatherings

at alumni-owned businesses. Trust us—you won’t

want to miss the events coming this year!

Summer is such an exciting season at

Cornerstone as we congratulate our graduates

and look ahead to our incoming classes and

cohorts. I hope this season is just as refreshing

for you and that God gives you, just as the

beloved hymn says, “strength for today and

bright hope for tomorrow.”

In Christ,

Dennis Graham (B.A. ’05, MBA ’12)

Director of Alumni Relations


DR. GERSON

MORENO-RIAÑO

12th President of Cornerstone University

Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño was most recently executive vice

president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Regent

University in Virginia Beach, Va. While there, he led a talented

team of deans, faculty and enrollment staff that helped grow the

enrollment by over 70%. While at Regent, Dr. Moreno-Riaño was

also a tenured professor of government.

Born in Colombia, South America, Dr. Moreno-Riaño came to the

United States at the age of 9 with his family, where they lived in New

York City. He felt the call to lifelong ministry at the age of 14 and has

followed it ever since. Dr. Moreno-Riaño is a graduate of Cedarville

University in Cedarville, Ohio, where he received his Bachelor of

Arts in political science and pre-seminary biblical studies. He then

received his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in political science from the

University of Cincinnati.

Prior to joining Regent University, Dr. Moreno-Riaño began teaching

as a graduate student at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio,

followed by a tenured position at Cedarville. He is the author of six

books and has edited and written chapters for several others.

He is blessed to be the husband to Ellen and father to

Isaac, Victoria, Abraham, Emma, Abigail and Zachariah.

Christ-centered higher education is one of

the highest callings and noblest endeavors

in which a follower of Jesus Christ

can serve. The incredible opportunity to

shepherd the hearts, minds and souls of

university students in and toward the

beauty, truth and reality of Jesus Christ

stands as one of the greatest privileges

and blessings in which one can partake.

It has been my great joy for over two

decades to have served in Christ’s vineyard

of Christian higher education. And it is

my intention to continue serving in this

vineyard until the Lord decides otherwise.

— DR. GERSON MORENO-RIAÑO

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

05


IMMEASURABLE

IMPACT

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

06

Cornerstone alumni share the ways that Dr. Stowell

has shaped the culture of Cornerstone University.


MIKE KILDAL (B.R.E. ’82)

“I was a brand-new believer at GRBC in 1978. I felt like a fish out of water much of the time because I didn’t

know the Bible like the other students around me. In hindsight, I realize I wasn’t alone.

“I remember leaving my room in Quincer and going down the hill to chapel (then held in the gym) and

hearing this pastor from Kokomo, and it was you, Joe. You made the Scriptures make sense to me.

“I remember having dinner with your dad once in Niagara Falls, and we talked about his son. It was you, Joe.

You were his pride and joy.

“I remember picking a visiting speaker for chapel when I was on staff at The Master’s College. It was you,

Joe. I was excited to chat with you on the short car ride.

“I remember going to Chicago for a pastor’s conference every year with the pastoral staff at my church in

Dayton, Ohio. There was always good content and great worship, but the best message was always on

Monday nights; it was you, Joe. You were always ‘our pastor’ during those weeks.

“There was the year when I got an email announcing that my college was bringing in a new president ... it

was you, Joe. I was proud that you chose to lead my school. As an alumnus, I looked forward to hearing what

God was doing on the corner of the East Beltline and Leonard Street.

“Thank you for following Christ and leading well.”

JIM FARRELL (B.A. ’88)

“I can’t begin to share all the ways you have been a great blessing to me and to CU! The Lord brought you to

us at the perfect time, and your faithfulness to Jesus Christ has allowed you to do extraordinary things here.

What a great season it has been.

“I always appreciated your willingness to sit down and talk at lunch or show up and watch a softball game.

That meant so much to me. I also have loved to sit under your teaching and preaching, beginning back when

I was a student in the early ’80s at Bible Conference. I also always enjoyed hearing your dad preach back in

Colon, Mich. I can still hear that voice.

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

07

“Please know that you are deeply loved and respected by myself and also my family. Mom and dad have

always loved you and ask about you often.

“You continue to be a source of encouragement to me, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to

know you and serve Christ along with you.”

DAN TREIER (M.DIV. ’96, TH.M. ’98)

“What a delight to celebrate the fruitfulness of your years in leadership at Cornerstone! God has been faithful

and generous to the school through you. And you have been a creative and faithful steward of what God

has entrusted to you. You have fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. Well done, faithful

servant, and thanks for sharing your infectious joy—that twinkle in your eye—with so many of us for so long.”

JEFFREY COUSINS (B.S. ’04)

“We have all been honored and blessed to have you as our leader. Also, as the father of several Cornerstone

students, the way you mentored and interacted with my children personally will never be forgotten.”


CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

08

KELAMENTER SMITH (A.S. ’05, B.S. ’07)

“It is my prayer that new beginnings follow you with

great success. Thank you for your time as a leader of

this great university. You have touched so many lives

and seen a lot of growth in others. I am honored to

have been a part of your journey. Don’t stop writing

and sharing what is embedded in you. Enjoy your

new endeavors!”

BETH REDFORD (B.S. ’08)

“I will never forget your demonstration of humility

when you presented me my diploma. I am a

wheelchair user, and you got down on one knee to

present my diploma to me on stage.”

ELAINE WILLIS (A.S. ’14, B.S. ’20)

“I am sure so many people have said wonderful things

about you. What else can I say but thank you for

giving to the Lord all these years. Because you gave,

a difference was made in my personal educational

experience. I loved attending Cornerstone University

because of the Christ-centered approach and

environment. By you allowing God to use you in this

realm, my life was enriched and blessed—even to this

present day. God be with you in the next chapter in life,

and continue to bring forth precious fruit for His glory!”

TANNER FREY (B.S. ’16)

“Thank you so much for your time and tremendous

contribution to Cornerstone! I will never forget the

way you made every student feel so important and

valuable. You led with wisdom, humility and passion,

and I have been blessed to know you. I pray God will

continue to bless you in this next season of your life.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and

this university.”

RACHEL WILKINSON (A.A. ’16, B.S. ’16)

“When I was a student, there was a popular T-shirt

worn by many a CU student that read ‘Joe Stowell

my heart.’ I think every person who meets Dr. Stowell

needs one of those shirts; his kind heart, sense of

humor, love for Jesus—to name a few of his best

qualities—are so contagious one cannot help telling

the whole world about him. I always appreciated that

Dr. Stowell was so interested in students. And I don’t

mean he just smiled and waved at each student he

passed by (though he did that too!); he was genuinely

interested in getting to know students personally.

When he wasn’t too busy, he would come to the

Corum or caf and sit and talk with students, listen to

them, ask how they were doing. It seems like such a

small thing, especially considering all the big things

he has done for the university, but it has made a world

of difference in the lives of young adults (including

myself) who are trying to figure out their place in the

world and God’s calling on their lives.”

TAMMY ERSTE (B.S. ’17, M.A. ’20)

“Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to grow

in my faith and walk with my Lord and Savior, Christ


Jesus, through my studies. Through Cornerstone

University and the encouragement of you and the

entire community, I extend my deepest thanks and

gratitude for the dedicated work of you all. May the Lord

bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine

upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His

countenance upon you and give you peace all the rest

of your days.”

LEAH GEORGE (B.A. ’20)

“I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to get to

know you during my time at Cornerstone. Thank you for

welcoming me and other President’s Partners into your

home. You made us feel cared for and known during our

busy college years. Your love for students and for Christ

is so evident in the way you interact with students.

Thank you for helping to make Cornerstone feel like

home. May the Lord bless you as you move forward.”

During Dr. Stowell’s 13-year presidency,

he influenced so many lives and impacted

so many people. Read more stories like the

ones above at cornerstone.edu/legacy.

GRTS ANNOUNCES

THE JOE AND

MARTIE STOWELL

SCHOLARSHIP

To honor Joe and Martie Stowell’s commitment

to lifelong ministry, Cornerstone has established

a generous scholarship in their name for Master

of Divinity students at GRTS. The Joe and

Martie Stowell Ministry Leaders Scholarship

gives select M.Div. students the opportunity to

graduate with reduced educational debt.

The Joe & Martie Stowell Scholarship is

our opportunity to honor the Stowells and

their passion for ministry and Christian

higher education.

Contribute to this scholarship at

cornerstone.edu/stowell-scholarship.

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

09


ALUMNI

STORIES

Deborah (Lambert) Woodard

Lois (Hart) Taylor

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

10

1960s

DEBORAH (LAMBERT, B.A. ’60) WOODARD authored

three children’s books titled “Naughty Pants Believes a Lie,”

“Fancy Pants Finds True Beauty” and “Smartie Pants Are

You Listening?”

MARILEE (WIITALA, B.R.E. ’66) DUNCAN is the

manager of Little Mary’s Hospitality House in Wellston, Mich.

This house offers free vacations to families with children who

are battling life-threatening or serious illnesses.

LOIS (HART, B.R.E. ’67) TAYLOR married James L.

Taylor on March 22, 2020.

1970s

hile Suzi and Tim Klomparens were preparing for

Wmission work in Nigeria under SIM (Sudan Interior

Mission) and awaiting the birth of their first child, Tim’s

diagnosis of aggressive cancer changed everything. Sixteen

months after Tim passed away, Suzi went to Nigeria with

toddler Joel to work as a Dorm Auntie at Kent Academy,

a boarding school for children from many countries.

As Suzi adjusted to the emotional and spiritual challenges

of grief and single-parenting, letters from her mother-in-law

Mom K. were like Good News from Afar.

Suzanne (Suzi) Bell is retired

from teaching college classes at

Cornerstone University in the

Teacher Education Department.

She currently teaches English to

Japanese students in the area.

She is an avid reader, loves crossstitching,

collects Beatrix Potter

(Peter Rabbit) memorabilia, and enjoys taking walks. She

and her husband Dan live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and

love living near their kids and grandkids.

SUZANNE (AVERILL, B.A. ’75) BELL completed

a memoir titled “Good News from Afar,” telling of her

experiences as a young missionary widow.

RON SHEVELAND (B.A. ’76) serves as an interim pastor

at Calvary Church in Webberville, Mich.

GARRY NUTTER (B.R.E. ’77) has worked as an

outpatient therapist for eight years with the underserved

mentally ill in Denver, Colo., finding everyday opportunities

to represent Christ’s love.

Good News from Afar A memoir of a young missionary widow SUZANNE J. BELL

SUZANNE J. BELL

Good News

from Afar

A memoir

of a young

missionary

widow

Suzanne (Averill) Bell

1980s

Garry Nutter

Dennis Dudley

CRAIG (B.A. ’82, M.DIV. ’87, M.TH. ’02) and Dorothy

(Truax) JOHNSON work as business partners in northeast

Grand Rapids. Craig began a new career in financial services

and has served as a financial advisor for seven years with

Upstream Investment Partners. He comes alongside families,

individuals and owners of small businesses to help them

prepare for their future through investments and insurance.

Dorothy works as his administrative assistant.

CARL KRESGE (B.A. ’80, M.DIV. ’84) is a full-time

missionary with SEND International, serving as the Eurasia

regional director. With God’s help, he has also grown a small

business called uDog on the side. He fell in love with a board

game while in Europe in 2013 and made one for himself after


LIFELONG LEARNING COURSES

The Welch Heritage Institute for Lifelong Learning at Cornerstone is

hosting courses this summer! Our seasoned faculty offer courses on topics

such as dune ecology, economics and the culture of today’s church. These

courses are open to anyone who desires to continue learning beyond the

college years.

Register today at cornerstone.edu/whill-courses.

PICTURED: Dr. Michael Stevens leading a class on the history of baseball.

returning to Grand Rapids. He spent nights and weekends

on a small CNC machine, crafting 55 different games in the

course of one year.

LORI (MANZER, CU ’87) DAWE became a partnership

liaison for Steve Douglass, the president emeritus of Cru.

CHARLOTTE (OVERHOLT, B.A. ’89) WEDDINGTON

lives in Loveland, Colo., and is a remote technical writer.

DR. LIBBY KNEPPER-MULLER passed away on June

25, 2020. As a professor in Cornerstone University’s Teacher

Education Division from 1989 to 2002, she served an

instrumental role in establishing the department.

1990s

MICHAEL STEPHENS (B.A. ’92) was hired in August

2020 as the wastewater product manager for Valley

Farms Supply. Valley Farms Supply is part of Headwater

Companies, one of the largest national wholesalers in water

equipment components.

DENNIS DUDLEY (M.T.S. ’93) retired in March 2020 after

serving for 42 years on the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

CORNERSTONE HOSTING ANNUAL

GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT

The Global Leadership Summit is one of the most transformational

experiences for business owners, ministry leaders and entrepreneurs—

just ask anyone who’s attended. On Aug. 5 and 6, Cornerstone will host

the Global Leadership Summit on campus, livestreaming the worldwide

event which features speakers such as Craig Groeschel, Malcolm Gladwell,

Juliet Funt and Henry Cloud. This two-day event offers opportunities for

networking with local professionals and invigorating your team.

Learn more at cornerstone.edu/gls-2021.

staff. During his career, he spent 30 years at Miami University,

ministering to students in various capacities. He now teaches

at First Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ohio, and continues to

volunteer at Miami University with InterVarsity.

LISA (BURGESS, B.A. ’94) GODWIN published a book

titled “Dear _____, There’s Hope on the Other Side.” She

serves as the director of a women’s and children’s shelter

in Washington and also created a nationwide project called

Adopt a Shelter that will encourage business and churches

to partner with women’s shelters across the country.

NATHAN HAGER (B.A. ’96) is a Michigan Master

Assessing Officer (MMAO/4) and a Certified Residential

Appraiser. He is now the president and owner of Lapeer

Appraisal Inc. upon the retirement of his father, Dale R. Hager

(B.A. ’70). The company provides real estate valuation and

property tax assessment services in Lapeer, Sanilac and

Tuscola counties. Nathan is married to Rachel (CU ’93-94)

who is the director of children’s ministries at First Baptist

Church in Caro, Mich.

DESSIE (GARLOCK, B.A. ’99) CAULK recently changed

professions from philanthropy to real estate. A former

employee of Keller Williams Grand Rapids North for two

years, she joined the Peter Albertini Properties team within

Keller Williams.

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

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CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

12

TERRI (BURNS,

B.A. ’81) FOWLER

A Life Ordained by God

Many years ago, Terri (Burns) Fowler received an invitation to lunch.

The invitation was from Marketplace Chaplains U.S.A., which provides chaplain services to a variety of workplaces. They offered

Fowler a job. Initially, she declined, asserting that it wasn’t what she wanted. However, she agreed to pray about it and consider a

role as a chaplain.

“I didn’t think it would ever work out,” Fowler said. But during the second lunch interview, Marketplace Partners asked her if she

wanted to work in the office of a large, local business. Fowler enthusiastically agreed. Ministering to professionals was an answer

to prayer, and it fulfilled a deep desire to work in a business setting.

This was just one of the many affirmations of God’s sovereignty in Fowler’s life.

Fowler became a Christian at the age of 7. Later, when she decided to go to Cornerstone University—which was Grand Rapids

Baptist College (GRBC) at the time—God graciously put people in her path to bolster her along the way.

On a blustery Michigan day, Fowler’s youth pastor brought her youth group to visit the college. Fowler wondered why anyone

would want to go to college where it was so cold and snowy. But God wanted her there, and her youth pastor encouraged her

to attend.


I come alongside people in their

good times and their in-between

times. People allow me to come

into their story.

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY

“For me to go to GRBC at that time was the perfect situation,” Fowler

reflected. “The school was a hothouse for spiritual growth.” She recalled how

professors at GRBC inspired her to build a Christian worldview and to be an

agent of Christ wherever she went.

13

Even after college, Fowler was confident that God provided every situation

in her life for her benefit. She sought out various opportunities as she tried

to seek out her career. God used that season to help her grow. After working

a few different jobs and pausing work to raise her family, Fowler accepted a

job at Marketplace Chaplains following that providential lunch meeting.

Fowler currently serves as chaplain for the corporate offices of Gordon

Food Service and Our Daily Bread Ministries, both located in Grand Rapids,

Mich. Some of Fowler’s assignments are out of the ordinary. You’ll find her

anywhere from tool-and-die facilities to intensive care units. For Fowler, it’s

all about being available for people.

“I talk to a lot of different kinds of people,” Fowler said. “I often start with basic

chitchat—sports, the weather, gardening—but in the middle of that, we talk

about things that are important.”

“It is my desire to affirm people,” Fowler said, “whether they’re the person I

stand with in line at the grocery store or the person cutting my hair.”

Fowler’s faith isn’t pigeonholed into one area. It permeates her entire being.

She understands that she is an instrument for God’s goodness, and He will

use her as He sees fit. She encourages others to understand that God is using

them no matter where they are. Fowler is a light to everyone, whether she’s

at a restaurant or in an office.

“All truth is God’s truth,” Fowler said. “All ministry is God’s ministry.”

ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

By intersecting the lives of others around her, Fowler finds that she can also

help them explore their faith. In her experience, anything can be a ministry—

marriage counseling, child dedication and even divorce care. She has seen

people come to faith in each of those situations. Sometimes it’s not a big

event—it’s a mere conversation.

“I come alongside people in their good times and their in-between times,”

Fowler said. “People allow me to come into their story.”

Fowler’s entire life and career is dotted with stories of her pouring into

others. To her, every interaction she has is ordained by God, even if she’s

not on the clock. It all comes back to how she felt affirmed during her studies

at GRBC.

ABOUT TERRI

Terri Fowler graduated from Cornerstone University with a degree in

speech communication. She currently works as a chaplain for Marketplace

Chaplains U.S.A. Fowler serves employees of Gordon Food Service and

Our Daily Bread by making hospital calls, assisting in funerals, performing

weddings and coming alongside those employees in moments of crisis.

Terri and her husband, Bruce, currently reside in Grand Rapids. They have

two adult children.


CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

14

SANDRA GADDY

(B.A. ’99)

How Faith Operates

Sandra Gaddy is passionate about making sure no woman gets left behind.

She knows what it’s like to be a working mom—and some of the obstacles women face in their career path every day. Gaddy

spent her early career in banking, having previously put college on hold to get married and raise three children with her husband.

She credits her banking career with teaching her how to tap into and build on relationships. It was then she envisioned a

different career path and decided to finish her degree.

Since she was a working mom, a traditional college classroom wasn’t going to work for her. Gaddy returned to school

through Cornerstone’s Professional & Graduate Studies (PGS) program. Taking night classes while working and caring for her

children helped her understand the difficulty of balancing school, work and family and how vital it is for women to achieve

their full potential.

When the opportunity came, many years later, to serve as president and CEO of Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in Grand Rapids,

Mich., Gaddy jumped at the opportunity.

WRC meets women where they’re at, whether they are reentering society after incarceration or are seeking a promotion at

work. The organization empowers and elevates women to achieve their greatest potential and provide financial stability for

their families.


When I got the job, I said, “God, you have

me on this platform, so I’m going to be

intentional about everything I do and say,

and how I listen.”

“The work at WRC makes my heart sing,” Gaddy said. “It’s important to me

that all women have every opportunity to succeed.”

Gaddy is able to use both her passion and her lived experience to pour into

women as they face similar challenges that she’d faced years before.

“Our goal is to transform a system that sustains poverty to one that provides

women with poverty-ending occupations,” Gaddy said. For women seeking

jobs, WRC offers career exploration, certifications and technical training.

Their participants end up in a variety of different jobs, from traditional office

settings to trades like welding. Women have access to rent laptops if they’re

required to work from home. They can receive a retail certificate to help

them become better employed. And they can learn technical skills they

need to get ahead in their career.

As a result of WRC’s tireless work and Gaddy’s leadership, 70% of

women in the organization’s programs remained employed and have

not been reincarcerated.

The economic climate of 2020 proved a challenge for women across

the board. WRC interacted with as many participants and their families

throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in crisis, including women reentering

the community early from their New Beginnings program at Kent County

Corrections. In September 2020, over 800,000 women left the workforce,

according to a report from the National Women’s Law Center. Gaddy noted

that many women left the workforce during this time, either to help their

children learn online or because of the lack of available childcare options.

Gaddy recalled a recent participant that she and her team worked with, a

working mother of a special needs daughter. The organization changed

her hours suddenly to third shift at the factory where she worked, which

caused her to have to seek new employment so that she could be there for

her daughter.

been an accident. Her husband and young son were in a car accident

while traveling in a busy intersection and were taken to a hospital near

Valparaiso, Ind.

The administrator took Gaddy’s hand and prayed for her before she left for

the hospital.

“I don’t remember his name,” Gaddy said. “But I remember his act.” Her

husband and son recovered well.

Even if some participants at WRC do not know Gaddy by name, they

can certainly see the work that she leads through the impact that the

organization has on women in West Michigan. “Our team and volunteers are

second to none,” Gaddy said. “They walk alongside each woman to help them

reach their potential and/or personal goals”.

Gaddy’s advice to women who have a lot on their plate is simply this—”Don’t

give up. I know how challenging raising a family, working and going to school

or learning a new trade can be.” Although it’s a challenge, it’s possible and

we can all do it with the right support system.

“I believe the Lord opened the door for me to come to WRC,” Gaddy said.

“When I got the job, I said, ‘God, you have me on this platform, so I’m going to

be intentional about everything I do and say and how I listen.’”

That’s how Gaddy lives out her faith—by using a platform to transform lives

and make a tangible impact for Christ wherever she goes.

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“Moving forward, it will be incumbent upon companies to create an

environment that offers flexibility,” Gaddy said. “We’ve learned that we can

work from home successfully and create opportunities for moms to do so.”

Gaddy is passionate about helping to provide women avenues to overcome

barriers to gainful employment and personal success. That passion is guided

by her faith and how Christ calls His followers to help those who are in need.

Gaddy would be the first to tell you that actions speak louder than words.

During her time at Cornerstone, while sitting in night classes at PGS, she was

called into the office of a Cornerstone administrator. He told her there had

ABOUT SANDRA

Sandra Gaddy serves as CEO of Women’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids,

Mich., having previously served at both Mel Trotter Ministries and Inner

City Christian Federation. She received her Bachelor of Science in business

management from Cornerstone University’s Professional & Graduate Studies

program in 1999 and her executive MBA from Grand Valley State University.

She and her husband, Arlen-Dean, have three adult children.


Kristin (Wheeler) Amama

Laurie (Korb) Hart

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

16

2000s

Jake Houf

DAVE (B.R.E. ’00) AND CYNTHIA (HOLTZHOUSE,

B.A ’86) BEACH created a nontraditional publishing house

for fiction and nonfiction concerned with spiritual formation

and the human dilemma.

KRISTIN (WHEELER, B.A. ’00) AMAMA and her

husband, Henry, finalized the adoption of their ninth child,

Natalie Ruth, on Dec. 20, 2019.

LAURIE (KORB, B.A. ’01) HART and her husband,

Michael, recently adopted two children: Lexus and Xavier.

JOAN (MIKKOLA, M.R.E. ’02) GUEST and her husband,

Steven, transitioned into new positions as professors at

Baptist Theological College and Cebu Graduate School of

Theology in Cebu, Philippines.

KANEITHA KELLY (B.S. ’04) was promoted to lease

consultant in February 2021 at Caterpillar Financial Services

Corporation.

NOAH FILIPIAK (B.S. ’04, M.A. ’09) finished his

new book titled “Beyond the Battle: A Man’s Guide to His

Identity in Christ in an Oversexualized World.” Published by

Zondervan, the book will be available on July 13, 2021.

Crystal (Richards) Kitten

Debra (Ziehm) McGuire

Matt Kunnen

Alan Warner

ANDREW BOSSARDET (B.A. ’06) became the lead

pastor of First Reformed Church in Byron Center, Mich.

CRYSTAL (RICHARDS, B.A. ’07) KITTEN started as

the director of housing for A.Y.A. Youth Collective, a newly

merged nonprofit in Grand Rapids serving homeless youth,

in October 2020.

JONATHAN HIGHMAN (B.S. ’08, MBA ’10) partnered

with Kevin Damghani in 2017 and co-founded ITPartners.

ITPartners is a technology sales, service and consulting

company with an emphasis on doing great work, thinking

big and making it fun for their partners!

MATT KUNNEN (B.A. ’09) joined Wyoming-based JVL

Wealth Strategies in 2013 after working as an investment

consultant for a national brokerage firm. In 2021, he was


4TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION

OF SCHOLARSHIP

In April 2021, Cornerstone University’s traditional undergraduate

division hosted its annual Celebration of Scholarship. This year’s

showcase featured 117 posters, 71 papers and presentations and 34

musical performances.

Learn more at cornerstone.edu/cos.

PICTURED: Students reviewing posters during Celebration of Scholarship.

elected as a partner at JVL Wealth Strategies. He graduated

from Cornerstone University with a Bachelor of Arts in

finance and business management.

MEGHAN POWELL (B.A. ’09) has lived in Chicago for

the last six years. She started her business called iMProv

Boss in 2018. While it was a big jump to walk away from a

corporate job, her faith and the education she received at

Cornerstone gave her the tools she needed to make the leap.

NEW MASTER OF PUBLIC

ADMINISTRATION PROGRAM

The new Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) program at

Cornerstone’s Professional & Graduate Studies division provides

avenues for current and aspiring nonprofit leaders and entrepreneurs

to enact transformative change in their organizations. The Higher

Learning Commission recently approved this program, and the first

cohort is anticipated to launch in September 2021.

Request information at cornerstone.edu/public-administration.

NICOLE (RICKS, B.S. ’13) KRAAYENBRINK owns Burly

Bison Bakery, a bakery that offers gluten-free, dairy-free and

vegan desserts with no added refined sugar and made from

organic ingredients whenever possible.

MYKEL HALL (B.S. ’13, M.DIV. ’20) recently accepted

the position of senior pastor at Trowbridge Community

Church in Otsego, Mich.

SARA BETH GRISSOM (A.S. ’13, B.S. ’17) moved back

home to Alaska in June 2019 and accepted a position at a

residential reentry center in October 2019.

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17

2010s

DEBRA (ZIEHM, M.B.A. ’10) MCGUIRE was selected

as the executive director of the International Association of

Assessing Officers in Kansas City, Mo.

JAKE HOUF (B.S. ’10) and his wife, Katie, welcomed their

first child, Anna Kay Houf, on July 3, 2020.

ALAN WARNER (B.S. ’13) began a podcast titled The

Wonderful Lizard, reading of the public domain work “The

Wizard of Oz” and changing the word wizard to lizard. To

listen, visit anchor.fm/lizarding.

ANNE OSTRANDER (B.A. ’14) spent four years serving

as a missionary in the Middle East. In July 2020, she returned

home to continue serving Muslim and refugee communities

and helping lead them to know Jesus.

KAREN (FOWLER, M.A. ’14) MOORMAN was appointed

as the supply pastor of Grant Chapel African Methodist

Episcopal Church in Three Rivers, Mich.

JOELLE WRIGHT-TERRY (B.S. ’15) is a surviving widow

due to COVID-19, and she is continuing Marshall’s legacy

with Memorials By Marsh & Sassi for her two boys, Joshua

and Micah. Her company specializes in the creation and

customization of gravesite headstones, monuments, benches

and cornerstones for those who have passed away.


CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

18

BRAD GRAY

(B.A. ’02)

Advancing God’s Kingdom

Every morning, Brad Gray wakes up and asks God, “What can we create today?”

His attitude toward faithfully listening to God and using his passion for storytelling has led him across the country and around the

world as he seeks to help people better understand the Bible in its original context.

Gray’s path to becoming a teaching pastor and creator of resources for learning about Scripture began unconventionally. As

a business major and basketball player at Cornerstone University, Gray originally planned to help his father in his exercise

education and physical rehabilitation business. But, as Gray likes to say, “Following Jesus is always an adventure. Buckle up, and

hold on tight because you never know what will happen next.”

After three years of working for his father, Gray felt prompted to change professions, attend seminary and become a pastor—

something his grandmother knew all along. “I talked to her on the phone after I made the decision,” Gray laughed. “She said, ‘I

always knew you were going to be a pastor.’”

After receiving his Master of Divinity and spending an additional year studying in Jerusalem, Gray became a teaching pastor at

Solomon’s Porch church in Jenison, Mich., and three years later for Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Mich. Four years later,

Gray sensed God had a new plan for him.


We want people to experience

the transformational power of the

Word of God when it is lived

out in faithful obedience to Jesus.

Over the course of a two-week time period, Gray and his wife, Shallon, were

convinced that God was calling them to resign and move to Nashville, Tenn.,

with their children: Denyon, Aryah, Calyx and Xyler. Within the course of two

weeks, they knew that this was what God had planned for them.

“Eleven days later, we stood in front of our congregation at Central Wesleyan

and told them, ‘We’re moving to Nashville for no reason other than God is

literally telling us to,’” Gray said.

The first year was difficult. Gray and his wife still had no idea why God had

called them there. Gray had some speaking engagements lined up as well as

some trips to Israel and Turkey he would lead. Beyond that, there were still so

many unknowns.

By the end of the last year, things began to crystalize. Gray launched Walking

The Text, a crowdfunded, nonprofit organization that creates resources and

study trips to biblical lands and helps people understand the Bible in its

original context.

As Gray pointed out, “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that context is

everything, and yet the vast majority of people have never been taught how

to engage the Bible in its original context. It’s why so many people find the

Bible difficult to understand. Our goal is to provide necessary tools to help

people read the Bible with clarity and confidence.”

Over the last three years, Walking The Text has become a hub of information

and rich resources to help believers understand and connect with Scripture.

and how Jesus operated within it as a Jewish rabbi. By carefully examining

the history and culture of Jesus’ world, Gray paints a vivid picture of what it

looked like to be a disciple of Jesus two thousand years ago and what those

implications are for us today.

Walking The Text hosts study tours to the Middle East, guided by Gray himself.

These aren’t just “bus tours”—travelers can expect to walk where Jesus

walked and dig deep into the culture and history of His world.

On a national level, Walking The Text hosts the Infusion Bible Conference,

a three-day crash course on biblical context hosted in the Nashville area.

It’s dedicated to helping participants understand context through history,

geography, culture backgrounds and more. And it is available for anyone

to attend.

“When I first learned context, the text went from black-and-white to 4K ultra

high definition,” Gray explained. “I think we often make reading the Bible a

chore, so I get jazzed when I can bring people inside the story.”

That philosophy is at the heart of Gray’s ministry—to effectively tell the

greatest story in human history and to help others be transformed by it.

“The grace of God is in all of this,” Gray said. “I have the privilege and freedom

to do everything I can to advance His kingdom in a way that changes

people’s lives.”

For Gray, the move was worth it—an opportunity to be unexpectedly blessed

and to bring God’s kingdom to earth for people around the country.

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ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

“The idea of ‘walking’ the text is a reference to the Hebrew word halakh,” Gray

said. “Its normal translation is ‘to live’ or ‘to go,’ but it emphatically means ‘to

walk,’ as in to walk something out in your life. We don’t want to necessarily

help people be smarter—we want them to become more faithful. If you’re

gaining information but not experiencing transformation, there’s something

wrong. We want people to experience the transformational power of the Word

of God when it is lived out in faithful obedience to Jesus.”

Gray publishes multiple videos and podcast teachings on the website on

a monthly basis, all of which are completely free. For example, he recently

released an eight-part series on the rabbinical world of the New Testament

ABOUT BRAD

Brad Gray graduated from Cornerstone University in 2002 with a degree in

business management. After working for a time with his father, Gray studied

at Western Theological Seminary and received his Master of Divinity. In

2009, he received a graduate certificate in biblical history and geography

from Jerusalem University College. He has pastored at both Solomon’s Porch

Church in Jenison, Mich., and Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Mich. He

now lives in Nashville, Tenn., with his wife, Shallon, and their four children. To

learn more about Brad and his ministry, visit walkingthetext.com.


CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

20

JOE JONES

(M.A. ’12)

Power in Learning

Joe Jones understands that in order to be more like Jesus, he has to learn how to be more like Jesus.

He often reflects on the “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets that were popular in the mid-2000s. This question calls Christ

followers to be students—a charge Jones doesn’t take lightly.

“How do we know what Jesus would do if we don’t know what Jesus has done?” Jones asks this question often to his

congregation at Brown Hutcherson Ministries in Grand Rapids, Mich. But Jones has also lived this truth throughout his

career and his life.

Jones served as president and CEO of the Urban League of West Michigan for nine years. That unique opportunity helped

develop his perspective for how God could use him in his work as a leader, a change agent and a Christ follower.

“That work helped me become the person I am today,” Jones recalled. “Whoever came through our doors, the expectation was

that we would treat them with dignity and respect.”

Dignity and respect—it’s not always easy to live these out in today’s culture. In late 2020, Jones saw an opportunity to coach

people in these areas and inspire them to see others the way Jesus would see them. That involved tackling difficult topics.


We need to look at people through

the lens that God made them in His

own image. This is in many ways the

missing element in today’s society.

“I know that the topics of race, equity, diversity and inclusion are not easy

for a lot of people to discuss,” Jones said. “A lot of organizations are trying to

enhance what they’re doing in those areas, but they don’t have anywhere to

start from. There’s a tension and fear that they’ll say or do the wrong thing.”

Earlier this year, Jones founded The Hekima Group LLC. “Hekima” is Swahili

for wisdom. His vision is to provide sound wisdom and strategy to a variety

of industries in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion; strategic and

multicultural communication; crisis management; and board recruitment.

Jones has been an active consultant for decades, but after the racial tension

of 2020 and the effects COVID-19 had on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people

of color) communities, he felt that it was time to focus even more energy on

this area of his life.

“We need to look at people through the lens that God made them in His own

image,” Jones said. “This is in many ways the missing element in today’s

society. Because of my faith, I know not to approach people as being inferior

or superior. When you start by treating people based on their rank or social

status, there’s the potential to go away from what the Word teaches us.”

Jones finds strength and purpose in the words of Jesus in Luke 4:18-19,

his life’s mission statement. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has

anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that

captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be

set free and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

Jones uses his lived experience to both teach and learn, in the marketplace

and at the pulpit. Whenever Jones comes across an opportunity to expand

on his knowledge, he takes it. That led him and his wife, Jessie Jones (M.A.

’12), to complete their Master of Arts in ministry leadership at Grand Rapids

Theological Seminary as part of the very first Urban Cohort.

Through that experience, the Joneses fostered valuable connections with

members of the urban church community and engaged deeply with GRTS

faculty on issues that our communities face every day.

When it comes to leading, Jones takes his own advice. In order to answer the

question, “What would Jesus do?,” he dedicates himself to learning how Jesus

led. In all of his experiences—in leading nonprofits, returning to school and

teaching the gospel—the teachings of Christ act as his guide.

“There’s power in learning,” Jones said. “That’s what’s required of us—to never

stop learning because none of us have fully arrived.”

In a challenging, divisive climate, Jones is using both the gifts and the

influence that God gave him to build relationships, start conversations and

grow community. He is the first to say that it’s not an easy task, but it is

possible through God’s grace and favor.

“At the end of the day, the work that we do is how we meet the challenge

before us,” Jones said. “It’s a challenge and sometimes seems to be

impossible work, but I love waking up in the morning and trying to master

that craft. Even when I fall, He’s there to help pick me back up.”

After each fall, Jones learns something new. And because he learns, he grows

closer to his Savior.

ABOUT JOE

Rev. Joe Jones is the president and CEO of The Hekima Group LLC, a

consulting firm that provides sound wisdom and strategy to a wide variety of

industries in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; strategic

and multicultural communication; and crisis management. He holds a

Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Oakland University and a Master

of Arts in ministry leadership from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He

has graduate certificates from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth,

Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stern School of Business at New

York University. He also serves as Second Ward City Commissioner for the

City of Grand Rapids and pastor at Brown Hutcherson Ministries. Jones and

his wife have four children and five grandchildren.

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY

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ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021


Carlee (Iwema) Veldhuizen

Abbigail Rennes

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

22

Caleb and Paula Vredenburg

DONNA (KNOPER, M.A. ’16) VANDERKODDE opened

Kodde Counseling LLC (Begin Anew Counseling) in January

2019, assisting individuals, couples and families who are

dealing with complex issues through a Christ-centered

worldview.

CARLEE (IWEMA, B.A. ’16, M.A. ’18) VELDHUIZEN

married Troy Veldhuizen on Sept. 18, 2020, and they live in

Grandville, Mich.

Eric and Connie Sattler

Jesse (Sheridan) Maas

Kenna Goodale

Hannah (Haviland) and Matt Winright

ELIZABETH (RICHTER, B.S. ’16) HERSHBERGER

completed a master’s degree and accepted a position in

the microbiology lab at Spectrum Health as a laboratory

assistant.

ABBIGAIL RENNES (B.S. ’16) was inducted as an

affiliate member of the American Cinema Editors.

SHELBY GOMBOSI (B.S. ’16) completed her Master

of Arts in rehabilitation counseling in 2020. She started

a new position as psychiatric ability access specialist at

the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD)

at Michigan State University. At RCPD, she launched a

program for students with mental health conditions who

are navigating the academic environment, as well as colaunched

a program to help students with disabilities build

community with each other during the pandemic.

CALEB (B.A. ’17) AND PAULA (B.S. ’17)

VREDENBURG welcomed their first child, Esther Hope, on

Sept. 9, 2020.

ERIC (M.B.A. ’17) AND CONNIE (M.S. ’13, MBA ’16)

SATTLER opened a travel agency in Grand Rapids in 2018.

They specialize in cruise travel (ocean and river) and also

help clients plan land-based vacations, including hotels,

resorts, tours, adventure travel and vacations by rail.

KENNA GOODALE (B.A. ’18) started a job in ABA as a

behavior therapist in December 2018. She supports kids and

families impacted by autism.

GRACE HAMILTON (B.S. ’18) recently moved to

Westcliffe, Colo., where she serves as the retreat coordinator

at Sky Ranch.


CORNERSTONE UNVEILS MARY DE WITT

CENTER FOR NURSING

In April 2021, Cornerstone officially opened the Mary De Witt Center for

Nursing in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The building is generously funded

by the De Witt family, Tammy and J.C. Huizenga and David and Carol Van

Andel. Bachelor of Science in Nursing students at Cornerstone will learn

in this building using state-of-the-art technology like artificial intelligence

mannequins and hospital-grade equipment. The Bachelor of Science in

Nursing (BSN) at Cornerstone is pending approval from the Higher Learning

Commission in summer 2021.

Learn more at cornerstone.edu/bsn.

DAKOTA STRAUB (B.S. ’18) accepted a job at SBC as a

director of student ministries, overseeing students from birth

through college.

PICTURED: Dr. Maria McCormick, nursing division chair, Mary De Witt, Martie Stowell and Joe Stowell

CORNERSTONE ADDS MEN’S WRESTLING

TO ATHLETICS PROGRAMS

Beginning in fall 2021, Cornerstone will officially add men’s wrestling as a

varsity sport. The team already has eight incoming students committed,

and construction is underway for a training facility on campus—the Steve

Cochlan Wrestling Center. Wrestling is a quickly growing athletic program

for schools in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Follow the new team at cornerstone.edu/wrestling.

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

23

JESSE (SHERIDAN, B.S. ’18) MAAS authored her first

novel, “The Desiccant Keepers,” and is now working on other

projects to publish soon.

KIMBERLY ATWOOD (B.A. ’19) serves in multiple roles.

She works as the communications administrator at Cascade

Community Foundation, content coordinator at Best Version

Media, content coordinator for Storybirds Inc. and social

media coordinator for Breathe Christian Writers Conference.

BENJAMIN COLLINS (B.A. ’19) recently started his

position as director of communications at Spirit of God

Fellowship.

HANNAH (HAVILAND, B.A. ’19) AND MATT

WINRIGHT (B.A. ’19) were recently married. Hannah

works as the client services coordinator of 7C Lingo, a

language agency.

NATALIE (WYNALDA, B.S. ’19) VANDYKE accepted

a job as the community engagement specialist at RISE

Advocacy. Her primary responsibilities include managing

volunteers and interns, giving community presentations

and coordinating social media.

REBECCA (COOPER, B.S. ’19) PUNCHES and

ANDREW PUNCHES (B.A. ’20) were recently married.

Rebecca also has transitioned roles at Protect Life

Michigan, accepting the position of high school and

young professionals for life coordinator.

2020s

EMILY QUELLET (B.S. ’20) was promoted to chief

operating officer at DeHaan Homes.


CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

24

SHOMARI TATE

(M.A. ’21)

Mentoring the Next Generation

As a student at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, Shomari Tate wished he had someone to talk to about cultural issues

and how he approaches them as a Christ follower.

Now, he is blessed to be that person for students at his alma mater.

Tate never thought he would be a mentor for high school students, but in 2019, God called him to just that.

“It came to me that what God was working on was not just a vocation where I would be helping people, but also one where I can

spread the mission and the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Tate said.

As the director of equity and multiculturalism at Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Tate has the privilege of leading and engaging

with students as they seek to create a more inclusive culture. Tate’s role also includes leading the charge on the school’s

multicultural efforts and making sure educators have tools to teach diverse perspectives on each subject, whether that’s math,

science or history.

“The mission of Catholic Central is to know and love God, seek knowledge and truth, respect the dignity of each person and

contribute to society through leadership and service,” Tate said. “It becomes very easy to insert cultural topics into the curriculum

because our mission alludes to this.”


It came to me that what God was

working on was not just a vocation

where I would be helping people, but

also one where I can spread the mission

and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tate is amazed by how today’s high schoolers seem to eagerly engage with

today’s cultural issues and discern how they can work to solve them.

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY

“I’ve never seen a more intellectual group of kids,” Tate said. “They have so

much information at their disposal. They’re asking questions I never would

have thought of at that age.”

Tate examines social justice not only one-on-one and in the classroom but

also as the defensive line coach and chaplain for Catholic Central’s state

championship football team.

“For high schoolers, living as a Christian is countercultural in 2021,” Tate

said. “They have been set apart, as 1 Peter 2:9 tells them. Our 2020 state

championship theme was having a humble heart. I’m trying to teach these

young men that while football is an important part of their lives, it’s also

preparing them for the battles they will face later in life.”

Tate accepted his position at Catholic Central at the same time he began his

degree program at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He fully believes that

this was no accident—God is teaching him in both classrooms, whether he’s

the student or the instructor himself. While his students wrestle with the

culture of today, he is wrestling with theology and doctrine.

“During my program, I applied what I was learning in my classes to what I

was talking about with my students,” Tate said. “The courses helped me stand

on the teachings of the Bible while providing an ethical approach to those

under my care.”

At the heart of Tate’s ministry to high schoolers, whether that’s in class or on

the football field, is a desire to help them view social justice through a biblical

lens. He often uses the story of the Good Samaritan—a story familiar to most

Christ followers but oftentimes misunderstood.

In the story of the Good Samaritan, the religious clergy of the day ignored the

man in the ditch. The man was ritualistically unclean, so avoiding him was

doctrinally correct. But through the lens of the Gospels, the clergy should

have treated the man with love first.

“The Samaritan in the story would be considered a person of color by today’s

standards,” Tate said. “While doctrines and theology are important, I want my

students to understand that loving others as Christ loves us is essential to

both the gospel and social justice.”

Being a mentor to high schoolers isn’t always easy, Tate says, but it’s an

extreme privilege to have influence on their lives. At an age where they are

forming their own worldviews, it’s important for teens to have a mentor they

can come to with questions. Tate listens and responds but also knows there

are lessons they have to learn on their own. At the end of the day, his high

schoolers will enter into a world that might not understand their faith.

“We are in the midst of a cultural reckoning, and the Lord is calling us to

speak to some things that have been ignored for quite some time,” Tate said.

“My prayer is that we come out more unified than ever.”

And Tate’s role as a mentor to young minds is exactly where God wants him

in the midst of this reckoning. He’s preparing students to preach a gospel of

radical love in a culture that is thirsty for the truth.

ABOUT SHOMARI

Shomari Tate serves as the director of equity and multiculturalism

at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School. He graduated from

Michigan State University in 2017 with his Bachelor of Arts in political

science and government and again in 2019 with a Master of Public Policy

in political science. He graduated from GRTS in 2021 with his Master of Arts

in ministry leadership. In fall 2021, he will begin his Doctor of Education

degree through PGS.

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ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021


COMMENCEMENT

2021

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

26

51 volunteers.

7 ceremonies spanning two weekends.

490 graduates crossing the stage.

Countless happy tears shed over the

two weekends.

Nothing was going to stop us from giving graduates from 2020 and 2021 the

commencement they deserved this year. After months of careful planning,

hundreds of volunteers, and weeks of coordination, we welcomed excited

families on campus to celebrate their graduates. The new alumni received

their diploma accompanied by a fist bump and enjoyed the celebration

they’d been waiting for—the chance to say, “I did it.”

Congratulations, classes of 2020 and 2021!


2021

ALUMNA OF THE

YEAR AWARD

RECIPIENTS

TRADITIONAL

UNDERGRADUATE:

DR. STEFANIE WISE

(B.S. ’06)

Emergency physician

and EMS medical director for

Detroit Receiving Hospital

PROFESSIONAL &

GRADUATE STUDIES:

SHANA LEWIS

(B.S. ’12)

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

27

Executive director of talent

acquisition and workforce

programs for Trinity Health

GRAND RAPIDS

THEOLOGICAL

SEMINARY:

ANNE PARPAS

(M.A. ’13)

Owner and therapist for

Integrative Health Consultants

of West Michigan


CLASS OF 2021

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

28

Determination and Grace

Through dedication and faith in God’s goodness,

the class of 2021 has made this an incredible year.

And they’re just getting started. Congratulations,

and welcome to the alumni association!

* TRADITIONAL UNDERGRADUATE GRADUATES

** PROFESSIONAL & GRADUATE STUDIES GRADUATES

^ GRAND RAPIDS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY GRADUATES

§ ASIA BIBLICAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY GRADUATES

David A. Adams**

Andrew David Ahrens*

Grace Akanksha*

Benjamin David Anderson^

Dawn Marie Anderson**

Joshua David Anderson*

Shannon Anderson**

Daryl Edward Andresen^

Samantha Alexis Angus*

Katie Asencio*

Corey Aukerman**

AnnMarie Joy Aulbach*

Angela Joy Bailard*

Benjamin D. Bailey*

Laura K. Baker^

Tyler Baker*

Marcus J. Balocca**

Alisa Ann Barber**

Chelsea Lynn Barker**

Courtney Barr**

Emily Bauer*

William Baumann*

Hailey Kathryn Baun*

Tanya M. Belbeck**

India C. Bell**

Angela Bell-Alexander**

LaToya Naikita Benson**

Madeline Anne Berce^

Dylan Michael Berens*

Dana Beute**

Kayla Elizabeth Bidwell*

Kelsey Ann Billingsley*

Eric V. Black^

Meghan R. Blakely**

Moriah Kaye Blazer*

Micah Aaron Boggs*

Juliana Bonilla*

Elizabeth Denae Boock*

Jaclyn Joanne Bouma*

Diane Erin Bowyer**

Eric Liam Bradberry*

Brandy Braman**

Autumn Bethany Brister*

Zachariah Brog*

Abigail Bronkema*

Alisha Nicole Brown**

Bailey K. Brown^

Jill Brown**

William Brad Brown**

Daniel Buffham*

Mari Elizabeth Bugg**

Brandon Burie*

Kerry Ann Burkhart^

Katelyn Joy Burmaster*

Nicholas Burner^

Kendall Calhoun**

Fernanda Calzada Munoz**

Zachary Cantalice*

Adam Carlson*

Caitlin Carroll*

Celeste Carwile*

Logan Montgomery Chagdes*

Brendan Lee Champine*

Gregory L. Chandler**

Sheila Chandler**

Kai Chun Chang*

Brandon Jeremiah Chase*

Rene Chatman**

Nathan Chenoweth**


Emily Childers*

Dennis Keith Chitwood**

Madison Christensen*

Sara Clapper*

Amanda Elizabeth Clark**

Kayla Clark*

Jama Lynn Claxton*

Mary Leanne Clementz**

Moriah Clinger*

John Esteban Cocoma Hernandez*

Amy Rebecca Cole**

Alissa Collins^

Kaylee L. Collins*

Emily Comeau*

Rabecka Kaylin-Leeann Commans*

Amber L. Coniglio**

Linnae Conkel*

Charles Allan Connell II**

Grace A. Connell**

Chad Cook**

Richard L. Cook**

Samantha Cook**

Delight J. Cooley**

Charity Lynn Cooper^

Mya Sulema Copado*

Riley Costen*

Jennifer Renee Cox*

Krista M. Cramer**

Marcus Cronin**

Jerry Cross**

Bailey Cummings*

Denver Scott Daniel*

Brittany Lynn Darling*

Mark A. Davidhizar^

D’Amaie Elaine Davis*

Angela M. Davis**

Sterling DeGayner*

Alexis Aidden DeBoer*

Sara Jean Dekker^

Nicholas Dekkenga*

Ryan Allen Dekkinga**

Benjamin Paul DeMaagd**

Tyler James DeMoss**

Chloe DeVries*

Lluvia Diaz-Lanier**

Kimmular Dortch**

Erika Leigh Doster-Funk**

Courtney Eileen Ducharme*

Curtis James Dunkerley*

Angela Durrah-Bays**

Kristen Dussault*

Joel Van Dyke*

Brandi L. Dyke**

Chelsea Joyce Dykstra*

J. Austin E. Huffer^

Melissa M. Eding**

Hannah Marie Edmonds*

Keith J. Edwards^

Blaise Orion Eisele*

Justin Ellenwood**

Brendan Emmerich*

Trina L. Enoch**

Jennifer Marie Enos**

Tammy J. Erste^

Emily Danielle Ervin*

Brandy Everest**

Nicholas Ewald^

Lisa Jo Fanelli-Greer^

Emma Falls*

Kristi Fender**

Jessica Finn-Bloomberg**

Chelsia Paulinn Firlik^

Justin David Fleser^

Kyle Ford^

Cosby Danielle Franks*

Macaul Lynae Franks*

Mrs. Deannia L. Friend**

Christopher Jonathan Fry^

Martin Fuss**

Quincy Gainey*

Brooke Ashtyn Galloway*

Gabrielle Gardner*

Keoshi M. Gardner**

Tonya Gardner-Hill**

Jason DeWayne Garland**

Vincent John Giannecchini*

Ashley Kay Gilmore^

Ashley Glass*

Katrina Ann Goebel*

Christy Vivek Gogu§

Joanna K. Gordon^

John C. Grafton**

Nicole Margaret Greenhoe**

Lexis Rose Guarnaccia**

Thomasina S. Guidry^

Natalie A. Guinn*

Joshua J. Gundlach**

Tamara L. Gurley^

Dwight Gutridge**

Amber Alexis Guzman*

Samantha Ines Guzman*

Donald Haff**

Denique Hamilton**

Ryan Anthony Hannah^

Shirin Subhi Hannan*

Caitlyn Hannum^

Kodie Edward Hansen*

Kari Hanson**

Michelle Hardman**

Emily Jane Arlene Harris*

Jamona Chanel Harris^

Makenzi Morgan Harrison**

Stephanie Hartsock**

Kyle Hayes**

Emily J. Harvey*

Keyanna Heddy**

Madison E. Herrema*

Ashley Heyboer*

Amy Joy Heyduck**

Braelyn Hill*

Kiley Ann Hilton*

Jared James Hla§

William Robert Hobson V*

Robert J. Hoffman**

Kimberly D. Hofstra**

Kellsie Marie Holtz**

Ryan Craig Hoogerheide*

Caleb John Horjus*

Timothy Hoult**

Carrie Rose Hourican**

Isaiah R. House*

Ryan Huls*

Jill Hultink**

Teresa Gayle Hultink^

Kaylynn Hume**

Katherine Hunter**

Madison Delaney Hunter*

Cristin Leigh Jamba**

Rebecca Jellison**

Eric A. Jobe**

Logan Strader Johns*

Grace Marada Johnson*

Mikayla Johnson*

Arissa M. Johnston*

Amy Lauren Jones**

Daniel Gerard Jones**

Jeffrey L. Jousma**

Alyssa Kaiser*

Sacree Kandi*

Erin Dean Kane**

Kimm Kyle Karrip Jr.*

Jennifer Anne Katich**

Susan Princess Kayuni*

Kathleen Ann Kent**

Stephane Keo*

David Fredrick Kerkstra*

Kyoung Cheon Kim*

Nicholas Alan Kleitch*

Hannah Jo Klepal*

MacKenzie A. Knoll*

Katlyn Marie Koetsier*

Annika K. Kolean*

Kaycee Grace Kooima*

Ryan Michael Koontz*

Ellen Marie Kresge*

Keith James Krueger**

Madissen E. Kruit*

Chloe Marie Kuhns*

Samantha J. Kuiper*

Julianna Kusneske*

Anita Kwarteng**

Phoebe LaCroix*

Damiane Lake**

Andrew Yalmer Lamppa*

Justin Laney**

Regan Lang*

Cierra Lynn Langejans*

Abigail I. Langerak**

Tori Marie Lankford*

Mark J. Lardieri**

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

29


CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021

30

Yuiki Lau*

Aliyah N. Lemmer*

Sara Lemon*

Jaclyn Lenger**

Marcus Leslie**

Robert Edward Lewis IV*

Ashley Nicole Lewis**

Dylan Matthew Linton*

Averi Anne Lohman*

Adam P. Looman**

Edna Lopez**

Christiana L. Lovegrove**

Lina Rebekah Low§

Alaina Mary Lubbers*

Alan J. Luchtenburg*

Alida Marie Luck*

Josiah Ludema*

Morgan Elizabeth Luedy*

Jacie Lutke*

Holly Lynn Lynema**

Jaela B. Maat*

Joshua D.A. Magley*

Garrett Marshall Maher*

Garrett Marshall Maher*

Chad Malinowski**

Isaac Matthew Mangione*

Emily Kaye Margaret Grace

Veenstra-Banning^

Jennifer Nicole Marquez**

Andrew J. Marshall*

Adam R. Martens**

Kara Elizabeth Martin**

Amanda Martinez**

Brianna Marie Martinez*

Juanita Martinez-Ellis**

Johanna M. Mason^

Connor Matthysse*

Chandler Eugene McKinney*

Jennifer Anne McKinstry^

Vanthony McMullan**

ChaVon McMurray**

Lucas McNinch*

Daniela Medrano**

Jaxsen Meldrum*

Michael C. Melillo*

Nicole Kimberly Clara Mendez*

Eric Jon Merchant**

Gabriel Michael Meriwether*

Conner Edward Meyers*

Erica Lynn Mick*

Cassandra Middaugh**

Aimee Danielle Miller*

Brandyn Jaymes Miller^

Sean Miller^

Shaloria Michaela Mitchell**

Brooke Maria Modderman*

Hannah J. Moore^

Angelica Moore-Johnson**

Silvia M. Morales**

Faith Morgan*

Bethany Mae Morse*

Rebecca Mrozinski**

Jeffery S. Mudget**

Josue Y. Uquillas Muniz**

Melissa Sue Mys**

Hilda Nadar§

Brooke Avery Nelson*

Natenael Nesibu*

Mitchell James Nichols*

Brooke Kimberly Nicholson*

Joshua Nicholson*

Mustapha A. Njie**

Salvation O. Nkiko*

Brent Montagnino Nudo*

Shelby Nyboer*

Leslie Nyquist*

Maurita Oduor*

Noah R. Oeverman*

Alexandra Lyn Oosse^

Brendan Lee Oosterheert*

Samuel Ottosen**

Bridgett Nicole Ozuzu**

Drew Gordon Parker*

Megan Parker**

Chevoy Parson**

Bailer Patterson*

Delonte Pearson*

Graciela Pecina*

Leah Peirce*

Joseph Pena**

Cameron M. Perini*

Kourtney Yvonne Perkins**

Lucas Perkins*

Sydney Elena Perry*

Joshua Petrusma**

Jenifer Pezzelle**

Ntando Palesa Phillips*

Victoria Piovesan*

Demetrius Pittman**

Evette R. Pittman**

Madeline Pluta*

Sam Popik*

Taylor Pratt*

Emily Quellet**

Garrett A. Race**

Michaela Katherine Ransler*

Trevor Holt Reed*

Jennifer A. Reil^

Morgan Marie Renkema*

Mackenzie Ribbink**

Allyson Richards*

Jared Riley*

Ashley Marie Rios^

Connor Robertson*

Angel Louise Ciara Robinson*

Meoshi Renee Robinson-Atkinson**

Silvio Romeo Rodriguez Guerra*

Christian James Rodriguez*

Emily Lyn Rogers*

Amanda Grace Rohling*

Kyle Rouse ^

Brianne Ilyse Roux^

Rebecca Rowley*

Ellyssa Marie Rudolph*

Michelle Rummelt**

Caleb T. Ryan*

Cameron Scott Ryder*

Skylar Shorland Ryskamp*

Adrianna Saldivar**

Noah James Sall*

David Sanchez*

Sierra Rose Sanchez*

Zam Kap Sang*

Reu Jardinico Sausa§

Sheryl Yap Sausa§

Emily Schaafsma*

Jared Andrew Schmatz*

Katelyn Paige Schmidt*

Luke Andrew Schrock*

Laurie Schreur*

James E. Schroeder*

John C. Schroeder^

Annette Whitley Scott**

Cindy Marie Seaney**

Liuel Kenaz Selorio§

Lucas Owen Sharar*

Melvin L. Shelton**

Samantha Joelle Sherman*

Riane Sheick**

Kaylie A. Sieglaff*

Carson Silverstein**

Jessica Lynn Slater**

Robert E. Slaughter**

Acacia R. Smith*

Brad Smith**

Gabrielle Smith*

Jessica E. Smith**

Staci R. Smith**

Sarah Smitter**

Sydney Marie Smullen*

Maegan A. Sneller*

Caleb Snoeyink*

Josiah Snyder*

Kaleb Soller**

Amanda Nicole Sorokin*

Jacqueline Rosemary Stanko*

Brooke Lauren Statema*

Brittany R. Stichter^

James Charles Stokes**

Deborah Stowie^

Emily Autumn Stump*

Rachael Elianna Suraj*

Jacob Swift*

Cassondra Taber**

Mercedez Tahtinen**

Tanner Richard Tamminga**

Hanita C. Tampos§

Leanette M. Tanner**

Madeline Tassoni*

Shawna Tate**


Shomari Jalen Tate^

Alyisha Taylor**

Stephanie TeSlaa^

Babalo Thiyane*

Maryam Thomas^

Mitchell Tiesma*

Tyler Timmer**

Moya Tobey*

Edwin Eric Tolbert Sr**

Mark W. Tremaine**

Amanda Harriet Trilla**

Brady Lee Troyer*

Peggy Gene Tuttle**

Sara Tysman^

Martin Uchendu**

Karen Nicole Underwood*

Jaden Alexius Valentine*

Anna Mae VanCoonis*

Raelee VandenBerg*

Derryk Mark VanderJagt*

Trisha Ann VanderWagen**

Heather Lynn VanderWoude*

Andrew J. Vangunst*

Betty Verburg^

Amanda VerHulst*

Nicole Lynn VerHulst*

Milica Vickovic**

Blesswin Victor§

Taylor Vink*

Frank Paul Viso**

Anthony Dominic Vulcano III**

Charles David Walker**

Michaela Lynn Walker**

Jacob Michael Walters*

Seth Christian Walters**

Ruoyao Wang*

Glenn Alexander Watson^

Alisha Nicole Webbs**

Anthony Weber II**

Nathan Weems*

Eric H. Weller**

Julie Wentworth**

Nichole Lynn Whitfield**

Kayla Whitham^

Derek D. Wieringa**

Grace Kelly Wiersema*

Moriah Wilke**

Brielle Denise Williams*

Aliyyah Denise Williams**

Ryan Kleeves Wilson**

Thomas E. Wilson**

Patricia E. Wimbley**

Eric Scott Winer^

Eve Roseanne Wixtrom**

Owen K. Woltjer*

Luke Wood*

Dana Woodard**

Eric D. Woods^

Abigail Workman

Alicia D. Wyant**

Amie Lynn Zapf**

Abigel Zewde*

Feben Zewde*

Daniel L. Zolinski*

Natalie Zysk*

CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY

To God be the glory,

now and forever.

AMEN!

31

ALUMNI JOURNAL 2021


Alumni Association

HOMECOMING &

FAMILY WEEKEND

OCT. 22-23

We can’t wait to welcome you back to campus for

Homecoming & Family Weekend 2021! Save the

date for Oct. 22-23 to reconnect with friends and

other alumni in a variety of events, including the

inauguration of our 12th president.

cornerstone.edu/homecoming

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