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MVNU celebrates annual Homecoming; 50th Anniversary

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University celebrated its 50th Anniversary Homecoming celebration Nov. 8-11.

“The 50th Anniversary celebration was a landmark event in the history of MVNU,” said President Henry W. Spaulding II, Ph.D. “It is essential as a Christian learning community to remember those who laid the foundation for our future. The pride we feel is our call to continue our march to the future God intends for us.”

Highlights from Friday included Homecoming Chapel, a 25-year celebration of adult education, the MVNU men’s and women’s Basketball Classic and the Homecoming Queen Coronation, and the President’s Prayer Breakfast, where guests were to encouraged to make strong statements with their lives.

“Do something extraordinary with your life,” said Dr. David Busic, General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene at the Prayer Breakfast. “In fact, be that person that Paul, Peter, and Ruth, and Mary, ask you in heaven, ‘What was it like?’ Whether or not we die is not up to us … but whether we will ever really live is our choice.”

Friday’s Cougar athletic highlights included the Lady Cougars winning 74-60 over Midway University and the men’s basketball team winning 87-66 over Olivet Nazarene University.

After the Alumni Celebration in Foster Hall on Friday, Bailey Phillips, was crowned the 2018 Homecoming Queen. Her court included Sydney Mohnasky, senior; Kristen Osborn, senior; Madison Near, junior; Ean See, sophomore; and Brea Garretson, freshman.

Saturday’s events included the Gold Rush 5.0K and .50K Run/Walk, Reunion Lunches for alumni classes, an Entertainment Showcase and The Golden Gala, which was attended by over 500 alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University.

“We transformed our original competition gym into an elegant dinner space complete with live music provided by our jazz band,” said Travis Keller, Director of Alumni Relations. “Our goal was to celebrate 50 years of MVNU history in one of our original spaces, while envisioning the possibilities for the next 50 years.”

The program was hosted by television personality and 2004 alumnus from New York City, Jeremy Parsons. President Spaulding, shared a message about “stacking stones for the future,” and Vice President for University Relations, James Smith, announced an exciting athletics facility expansion project to meet the needs of MVNU’s growing enrollment.

“In addition to the speakers, the evening was filled with awards to alumni for distinguished service and with videos of alumni and future students talking about their hopes for the next 50 years at MVNU,” Keller shared. “We were excited that we sold out The Golden Gala and shared such an incredible evening with our alumni and campus community!”

Saturday’s Cougar athletic highlights included the Lady Cougars winning 77-58 over Ohio Christian University and the men’s basketball team winning 117-110 over Cornerstone University.

Head Volleyball Coach Paul Swanson was honored as the University named Ariel Arena’s court the Paul Swanson Court.

“I was totally surprised,” Swanson said. “I am very grateful and thrilled that my family could be there. I was also overjoyed at the amount of former players who came to show their support. I am very thankful to the University for this unique honor and I praise God for it all.”

During halftime of the men’s basketball game, MVNU Athletics honored three standout athletes with induction into the MVNU Wall of Fame. Recognized were Shena Beheler, a Fredericktown High School graduate; Wheelersburg High School graduate Andy Heimbach; and Ben Falkenburg, a Wadsworth High School graduate.

“The 2018 Cougar Wall of Fame class of Andy Heimbach, Shena Beheler and Ben Falkenberg featured three of the very best athletes in MVNU’s 50-year history,” said Dave Parsons, former Sports Information Director. “They were each NAIA All-Americans in their sport, led their respective teams to the NAIA National Tournament or NAIA World Series and set numerous records that still stand today. However, more importantly, they are each tremendous representatives of what MVNU is all about as they continue to lead in all aspects of their life through their careers and personal lives. They would each tell you that MVNU was life changing for them, and now they continue to shine forth in all they do.”

Sunday morning, over 1,100 people gathered in the R.R. Hodges Chapel Auditorium for a Community Celebration Service. The service including prayer, announcements, and communion led by each of the pastors for the Church of the Nazarene congregations in Mount Vernon and the District Superintendent, Rev. Wendell Brown. Dr. Jesse Middendorf, General Superintendent Emeritus of the Church of the Nazarene, shared a message affirming the value of the church and of MVNU, inviting all to remain focused on living with love and unity.

For more Homecoming 2018 highlights, visit

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 32 states and 19 countries/U.S. territories.