MVNU faculty, staff recognized at University Dinner 

Mount Vernon Nazarene University celebrated the contributions of faculty and staff with newly-elected President Dr. Carson Castleman during the recent University Dinner.  

The annual event recognizes long-term service and peer-nominated awards and serves as an official kick-off to the academic year. FACULTY MEMBER OF THE YEAR Dr. Jessica Grubaugh was named Faculty Member of the Year. She is an Associate Professor of Education, Associate Dean for the Jetter School of Professional Studies, Education Department Chair and GPS Education Programs Coordinator. She has been essential to the success of MVNU’s Education programs, both on campus and online. Through her leadership, the Education Preparation program received a seven-year CAEP accreditation in 2022. Additionally, she has written two program reviews this year, has been integral to three Strategic Investment Projects, and worked with internal stakeholders and state and regional accrediting bodies to redesign MVNU’s secondary education programs providing more flexibility to students and to MVNU. “This is the type of innovative thinking Jessica is known for and is also evident in another project she has been working on to repackage our GPS education curriculum to meet new state reading standards in a manner that keeps the GPS education experience rigorous, relevant, and competitive in our market,” said Dr. Amy Kovach, Vice President for Academic Affairs. STAFF MEMBER OF THE YEAR Katie Sherman, Assistant Director of Human Resources, was named Staff Member of the Year. She was lauded for her excellent attitude, abilities, and Christian character. Since joining MVNU in 2016, she has held the roles of HR Specialist, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and Title IX Coordinator. She has also led a student Sustainability Club for several years. “Throughout her time at MVNU, she has shown herself to be comfortable with and approachable by all levels of campus constituents — from students to administrators. Her Christ-like attitude and professionalism have been seen and appreciated by all,” said Scott Campbell, CFO and Vice President for Finance. NOVICE MORRIS AWARD The Novice Morris Award was presented to Karen Bush to honor a retired staff member who continues to serve the University, their church, and their community. She was recognized for her servant’s heart and willingness to volunteer for anything that will show the love of Christ to others. “Her dedication and love of MVNU is extraordinary. One of my favorite things about Karen is her ability to formulate and share a beautiful prayer in any situation. Many of us treasure our friendship with Karen, and she can be counted as one of the best in many categories: MVNU alumna, friend, staff member, Christ follower, and servant leader,” said Campbell. LLOYD TAYLOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Dr. Merel Pickenpaugh was awarded the Lloyd Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award honoring retired faculty. He served as a faithful adjunct for 27 years before becoming a full-time Criminal Justice faculty member, designing the program to reflect the Christian perspective of restoration. Since his retirement in 2017, he has continued to adjunct when needed, serves as guest speaker, assists with field trips, and has traveled with students on a service-learning trip. “Merel, your former colleagues and your friends have stated that you embody MVNU’s motto: ‘To seek to learn is to seek to serve.’ Your work here at MVNU and your contributions to your church and local community confirm this. Thank you for investing in the lives of students, the lives of your colleagues and in MVNU,” said Dr. Kovach. DR. CASTLEMAN MAKES FIRST ADDRESS TO FACULTY AND STAFF Newly-elected President Dr. Carson Castleman spoke to faculty, staff, and retirees for the first time encouraging them to continue their commitment to MVNU and its mission. “MVNU is not just a place of learning. It is a place of growth. It is a sanctuary where minds are nurtured, souls are uplifted, and hearts are molded,” said Dr. Castleman. “We are entrusted with the sacred duty to foster an environment where faith can flourish, where intellectual curiosity is encouraged, and where students are empowered to discover their purpose and to make a difference in the world.” Dr. Castleman laid the foundation for his first year as president, which will begin on Oct. 1. He asked faculty and staff to embrace his three-pronged philosophy which includes: •Having unreasonable hospitality at every turn. •Having a growth mindset. •Assuming the best of others at all times. “If we as a community will lean into these three things, I believe with all of my heart God will do extraordinary things with ordinary people,” he said. SERVICE AWARDS 5 Year Awards — Anita Beal, John Cobb, Jaimi Dennison, Ryan Farr, Ron Garlinger, Zachary Graber, Jacob Gray, John Gregg, Amy Layman, Sarah Maracani, Jayme McMillan, John Mohnasky, Melissa Nowicki, Sarah Scott, Gina Stephens, Jeff Strickland and Keith Werner.10 Year Awards — Kelly Gumm, Krissta Hadsell, Justin Nowicki, Timothy Radcliffe, Christopher Sager, Michael Valentine and Krishana White.15 Year Awards — Karla Adu, Angela Compton, Ben Cook, Debra Garee, Jennifer Gotschall, Susan Morningstar, James Smith and Brett Wiley.20 Year Awards — David Baker, Scott Tarrh and Adam Diener.25 Year Awards — Dr. Brenita Nicholas-Edwards and Lori Schlingerman.30 Year Awards — Esther Carpenter.35 Year Awards — Judy Clevenger, Sandy Helman and Kevin Hughes.To learn more about MVNU, visit For a list of open positions, 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, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to nearly 2,000 students from 25 states and 11 foreign countries.  ###  CUTLINES MVNU_Sherman: Katie Sherman was recently named Staff Member of the Year at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Pictured, from left, are, President Dr. Carson Castleman, Sherman, and Transitional Leader Dr. David Wilson Sr.  MVNU_Grubaugh: Dr. Jessica Grubaugh was recently named Faculty Member of the Year at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Pictured, from left, are, President Dr. Carson Castleman, Grubaugh, and Transitional Leader Dr. David Wilson Sr.  MVNU_Bush: Karen Bush was recently presented the Novice Morris Award honoring retired staff members who continue to serve MVNU, their community and their church. Pictured, from left, are, President Dr. Carson Castleman, Bush, and Transitional Leader Dr. David Wilson Sr.  MVNU_Pickenpaugh: Dr. Merel Pickenpaugh was recently presented the Novice Morris Award honoring retired faculty members who continue to serve MVNU, their community and their church. Pictured, from left, are, President Dr. Carson Castleman, Pickenpaugh, and Transitional Leader Dr. David Wilson Sr. 

Check Also

State Fire Marshal Introduces Cutting-Edge 3Di Technology in Fire Reporting

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal announces the integration of …