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MVNU’s Yerxa, Strouse applauded for service to others

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (April 12, 2022) — Two members of the Mount Vernon Nazarene University community were honored for their service to others during the Nazarene Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) on Friday, April 8, 2022, at MVNU.

CHARLES K. MORROW AWARD

The Charles K. Morrow Award was presented to Wayne Yerxa, professor of business from 1985-2016.

The Morrow Award is given to a faculty or staff member from the institution hosting NSLC who has been passionate about, and led, student mission trips. According to his peers, Yerxa “captured and engaged both the minds and hearts of his students and colleagues in and out of the classroom” for over 30 years at MVNU.

“Students who studied under Professor Yerxa left his classroom and MVNU well prepared professionally to change the world with the love of Christ,” said Dr. Melanie Spangler-Timmerman, Dean of Jetter School of Professional Studies. “He was instrumental in developing the ongoing relationship that SIFE/Enactus/MVNU has with the country of Belize. Through his long-standing involvement with SIFE/Enactus and various travel courses, Professor Yerxa enabled students to apply concepts that they mastered in the classroom to solve real-world problems and to bless others. … The service projects that Professor Yerxa started in Belize continue to bless local communities and have grown into other opportunities for MVNU Enactus students to apply entrepreneurial principles to help the people of Belize flourish.”

Charles Morrow, a professor at MidAmerica Nazarene College, and the Coordinator of College and University Students Serving & Enabling (C.A.U.S.E.) was tragically killed in a plane crash in Honduras on Oct. 21, 1989. Morrow volunteered summers and any spare time he could muster to completely organize and implement the annual C.A.U.S.E. project for college students.  

Kelly Yerxa Lauth accepted the award for her father.

CLAYTON J. MEYER AWARD

MVNU senior Zachary Strouse was presented the Clayton J. Meyer Award which honors a student of the NSLC host school who exemplifies silent servant leadership qualities.

Strouse has invested in other students at MVNU by serving as a student mentor, resident assistant, and tutor. He is a certified firefighter and EMT, has traveled on several service trips, and was the men’s baseball team manager for a year. He also volunteers with HOLA at First Church of the Nazarene helping students who do not speak English as their first language with their schoolwork.

“Zach is the epitome of a servant leader. I have had the privilege to witness Zach embody selfless love to the residents on his floor,” said David Calvarese, Resident Director. “He makes constant sacrifices to assure students feel cared for and heard. He has been a model Resident Assistant. Whether it’s been by eating with students in the caf who are sitting alone or by doing the laundry of all the residents on his floor, Zach has always gone the extra mile to serve students any chance he gets. Zach Strouse has made MVNU a better place.”

On April 5, 1995, while working registration for the NSLC at Mount Vernon Nazarene College, Meyer, a senior biology major from MVNC, suffered heart failure from Marfan’s Syndrome and died. Clayton was scheduled to graduate in the spring of 1995 and had been accepted into the Cleveland School of Podiatry. Clayton impacted the lives of many through his humble qualities which often left him unrecognized for the tasks that he performed. Although Clayton was not always in the limelight, he was a constant support and foundation for the students at MVNC.

Friends affectionately described Meyer as a “nerd” who was excited to take on new challenges that took him out of his comfort zone. While his friends expected to impact Clayton’s life, they soon realized the magnitude of Clayton’s impact on their own lives.

“We thought we would lift him up by bringing him into our friend group not realizing how much he lifted us up,” said Michael Black, Clayton’s roommate of 3 ½ years.

Black shared stories of their time together including deep discussions on life, winning an intramural basketball tournament, and the selfless actions Clayton would take upon himself to make life easier for others.

“I used to travel on the music and ministry groups and I’d be gone almost every weekend. I’d get behind on certain things like laundry. I would literally come back on Sunday night at 11 p.m., and my laundry would be washed, folded, and put back in my closet. Who does that? Not a 19-year-old kid for his roommate. He just loved to serve in any way possible. He was that type of leader.”

Brian Ferguson met Clayton through Black. They lived on the same floor and would work in the Admissions office and served on student government together.

“When he got to college he really started to blossom. He wanted to get exposure to things. … He got into basketball and all the intramurals. He tackled it with so much heart. He got into Admissions, he found a niche in this school and he started to grow. He became so passionate about things. That drew people to him, and he gave us self-esteem.”

NAZARENE STUDENT LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

The Nazarene Student Leadership Conference is a four-day conference for members of student government to learn the importance of their role and develop skills that will prepare them to represent their peers to the best of their ability with courageous leadership.

Participating schools included Eastern Nazarene College, MVNU, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Northwest Nazarene University, Olivet Nazarene University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Southern Nazarene University and Trevecca Nazarene University.

Conference speakers included MVNU faculty and staff who shared their expertise on topics from teamwork, marketing, vocation, surveying the student body, culture, and more.

Author and humanitarian, Rev. Eugene Cho’s many passions involve “leadership, justice, the whole Gospel, and the pursuit of God’s Kingdom here on this earth.”  He combined his passions with the conference theme, “Courageous Leadership,” in his Chapel message to NSLC attendees as well as MVNU students, faculty, and staff.

“Courageous leadership is not fearless leadership,” said Cho. “It is someone who acknowledges the fears, concerns, and anxieties we have.” 

Cho shared examples where Jesus was a courageous leader and used Joshua 1:9 to point out that we are never alone in our pursuit of courageous leadership.

“Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous, do not be afraid do not be discouraged for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

To watch NSLC Chapel including awards presentations and Rev. Cho, click here and select “On Demand” to watch “MVNU Chapel: Rev. Eugene Cho.”

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, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to more than 2,100 students from 42 states and nine foreign countries.

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