Alumni Award Winners: "Wish the World Was Like Dana"
The Dana College Foundation and Alumni Association honored three alumni on Saturday, October 2, with traditional awards given at Homecoming ...Distinguished Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame.
James Cloyd was introduced by former professor Jan Potter. She reflected on his personal growth during his Dana years through his art, academics, and leadership. James, currently the dean of student experience at Metro Community College in Omaha, recalled his experiences at Dana and how they shaped his life. Even little things, he said, gave him opportunities later that he never would have done otherwise.
For instance, he recalled how he was invited to accompany President Myrv Christopherson at fundraisers, teaching him how to speak in front of others and socialize with people who had vastly different life experiences. Working on the KDCV radio staff eventually led to him owning a mobile DJ company.
Running for student body president was something he had never even considered. As a person of color in a predominantly white school, he thought that would never happen. But his experiences led him to believe in his message and his ability to lead. And he won! James said, invoking Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The students judged me by the content of my character, not the color of my skin. I wish the world was like Dana."
Dana College Foundation President Bob Coffey presented James with a framed print he had rescued from the Dana library recently. It was a woodcut-type print of Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife, created and signed by James Cloyd during his student years.
The Dana College Athletic Hall of Fame Awards went to two teammates who had earned first-team all conference basketball honors as well as national honors. Mark Esser and Jason Isaacson, Class of 2006, were introduced by their former coach, Chris Fear. Coach Fear reflected on their hard work and determination to become great players, and how they made everyone else on the team better for it.
Mark Esser ruled the lane on the court, scoring over 1,800 points in his career and setting team and conference records for blocked shots. His conference record of 12 blocked shots in a single game still stands. Mark also earned Academic All-American honors as a Viking center.
Jason Isaacson was a prolific scorer, finishing second in the entire nation by averaging over 25 points per game. Jason is currently coaching in Council Bluffs, earning multiple trips to the state tournament and developing one of Iowa's most highly-rated players.
Both players were presented with framed certificates and Thor's Hammer pendant necklaces. Viking warriors would wear such pendants as a way of assuring victory in battle and entry into Valhalla.
Alumni Award winners: (left to right) James Cloyd, Distinguished Alumni Award, Mark Esser and Jason Isaacson, Dana Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
Mickelsen, Blair Halls to be Renovated, Repurposed - Summer 2021
Angels Share, Inc., the non-profit organization that owns the former Dana campus, has secured a grant for $11.3 million to renovate and repurpose Mickelsen and Blair Halls to provide housing for low-income elderly residents.
The buildings will be made into apartments of varying sizes, with elevators added to each of the former dormitories. Studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units will be available. Work is expected to begin this fall.
“Our mission here is to prevent homelessness among our most vulnerable populations,” said Ed Shada of Angels Share, “and we have always planned on this project to be multi-generational. We’re looking forward to creating a stable, inviting place for people in need to call home.”
Units will also be made available for former foster care youth who are at possible risk of homelessness, in addition to those already housed in the renovated suite apartments across the street.
Scholarship Funds Grow Toward Sustainability - Summer 2021
The Dana College Foundation recently received a grant from the Paul and Ada Jeppesen Fund, a donor-advised fund held at Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing (formerly InFaith Community Foundation.)
This gift will be used to help fund the Dana College Foundation Legacy Scholarships, which are available to descendants of Dana alumni, faculty or staff who choose to attend a Christian-affiliated, liberal arts college or university.
Ada Jeppesen taught and tutored students at Dana College, and thoughtfully provided for other students for generations to come. This contribution to the Foundation’s scholarship fund is a significant step in making the fund sustainable.
Scholarship applications will be made available in December, and will be awarded in March.