Category Archives: Faculty and Staff

What professors and faculty think about ring by spring

Byline: Lisa Fredericks

Many professors and faculty here at the University of Northwestern — St. Paul witness the romantic relationships their students enter. These relationships sometimes lead to marriage while in college. There is a wide range of opinions on the phrase “ring by spring.”

Accounting professor Vernon Pollard believes that students getting married in college is “way premature” because “people are not in the same place of maturity and resources.” Regardless of where Pollard stands, he says: “All you can offer students is perspective and then let them decide.”

Pollard’s perspective is that “marriage is more emotional than practical” and that someone “cannot solve emotional problems with practical solutions.” He adds, “Getting married is not the beginning of love. Marriage is legal. What is pressing us to legalize it?” Pollard shares that students must be self-aware of who they are first before they blend their life with another person. He wants students to also think about where they are placing their gratification and relationship with God.

Associate dean of student engagement, Dawnette Scott, commented from a historical perspective of when women were not allowed to go to college and that only men could. She shared how because of this, when women were allowed to go to college, they were going to get their “MRS” degree. Although these humorous statements can be made, there are sufficient reasons to why they are created, especially when it comes to Christian campuses.

“My exposure has been more on Christian universities,” says Scott. “I think there is an ethos within Christianity that values marriage to such a degree that it got a higher ranking in people’s mind than singleness—it is more esteem; it is seen more as valuable. I don’t agree with that, but I think it is seen that way.”

Ring by spring can be seen both negatively and positively. Admissions counselor Choua LeMay says “The positive is that students do genuinely find love, and that’s never a bad thing. The negative is that, there’s a false notion that generates unnecessary pressure for students to leave their four years with wedding plans in the works.”

Can it really be possible for every student to find their significant other by the time they graduate? It can be obvious that this cannot be guaranteed for everyone and brings Pollard’s questions stated earlier into discussion: “What is pressing us to legalize it?”


As a former student and now on staff at Northwestern for a total of five years, LeMay shares her observations of students in romantic relationships: “I think it’s a normal step in this particular stage in their lives to be looking for someone to spend the rest of their lives with. I believe this is a turning point in a student’s life: maturity goes through a major growth spurt and life lessons are to be had. It’s a good time to explore compatibility in a future spouse.”

However, the concept of ring by spring has also caused a lot of students to rush to find their spouse since many of their peers are. “It’s a covert type of pressure but pressure nonetheless. Part of the pressure comes from a traditional Christian mindset that assumes everyone should get married and start a family—that it’s normal. Or that woman should marry and assume domestic roles. Or perhaps, pressure happens when you witness all your friends around you finding someone, getting engaged, making wedding arrangements and starting the next season of their lives and the innate desire in us all wanting to “settle down” hits hardest,” says LeMay.

Regardless of romantic relationships, there are other types of relationships that college students are also facing. Scott says “You got some relationships that are young and mature. You got some relationships that are bold and beautiful. You got some relationships that are slow moving but beautifully moving. You got people who know how to do relationships and people who don’t. There is a lot to learn about how to do relationships well— and that goes for roommates, friendships, working and dating. Everybody is trying to figure out how to do those things well.”

Ring by spring has definitely been embedded into the culture here at Northwestern and many other places. Despite the challenging influences, it can arise for students, Scott encourages students to “try not to think about it too seriously [that is] finding your life mate in college too seriously. It will happen for some and it won’t happen for others. It doesn’t mean you won’t get married. My greatest recommendation is to use this time in college to figure out who you are and how you do who you are out in the world cause if you keep shaping that then you’re going to be the best partner, spouse, parent,[fill in the blank] that you can be.”

Dr. Boyd Seevers: A Well Rounded Professor

Dr. Boyd Seevers is very active inside and outside of school

Dr. Boyd Seevers, a professor in the Biblical and Theological Studies department at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, is married and has four children.  In addition to family he also has a wide array of interests that include biblical studies, archeology, genealogy, and participating in marathons and Ironman triathlons.  In talking about the Bible, Seevers said, “The thing that interested me the most was understanding the history of the Bible in the world of the Bible.  When we as Americans read it, we understand it, but we see it from the perspective of our world. And we try to interpret it from our world whereas if you go to the world of the Bible and get to know that world better, that is, the people and the land and the customs, the weather and all those things, the Bible is clearer to us in that kind of context.”  Seevers studied in Israel during his education, then went back and lived there with his family for seven years. Now, he takes trips back to Israel. He said, “There are many things in the Bible that we don’t understand, and part of that is because that difference in perspective of worldview and sometimes my experience over there can help explain that.”  Gillian McIntosh, a public relations major who took minor prophets from Seevers, said that “he would always talk about his trips,” and that it “made him seem more credible,” and that he “had a story or an anecdote to go with what he was teaching.”

In talking about the Bible, Seevers said, “The thing that interested me the most was understanding the history of the Bible in the world of the Bible.  When we as Americans read it, we understand it, but we see it from the perspective of our world. And we try to interpret it from our world whereas if you go to the world of the Bible and get to know that world better, that is, the people and the land and the customs”

Seevers also enjoys running Ironman triathlons and marathons. He said, “You have to train for months for either of them, and you do that because you enjoy the training, not all of it but most of it. And then you appreciate the challenge and it’s terribly rewarding.”  Currently, he does it with the charity “World Vision.”  He continued, “They do relief work largely in Africa, but it’s greater than that. Part of World Vision has athletes like myself who dedicate a marathon or an Ironman or something like that and raise money for that relief work as they’re training. Last year, in the Twin Cities, the marathon and half-marathon teams raised $996,000. I’m doing this because I think it’s fun and healthy, and I do it in a way that does great human good.”  Genealogy, the study of family history, is also one of Seevers’s interests. “My ancestors came from Germany and my wife’s came from Sweden and we have some from England and I also enjoy researching that too,” he said.  Last summer, Seevers helped supervise an archeological dig in Israel. Additionally, two Northwestern graduates were there with him. During the archeological excavation, they uncovered a four foot tall storage jar that Seevers says was probably used to store water or grain. This summer, the archeological team he works with will be going to dig at Shiloh. He said, “Northwestern students are welcome to come and help dig and tour Israel.” Interested students should e-mail Seevers for more information.

Pete Sola is Purple and Gold to the Core

Pete Sola

by Jenny Cvek

Assistant News Editor

Pete Sola

Pete Sola is the Director of Public Safety at UNW (photo courtesy of Pete Sola).

A student’s initial perception of Pete Sola is generally that he is a friendly person with an important role on campus.  Little do they realize that the director of Public Safety at the University of Northwestern—St. Paul has much more to his story than it appears.  He has been serving in his current role for nine years, but has worked at Northwestern for about 16 years.  “I was in the powerhouse for about four years, and then I was the head track coach for about six years, and then at the same time, I was an assistant with the football team for eight years,” he said.  In 1998, he became the director of campus safety and later moved to South Dakota for a few years before coming back and starting his current position on campus.

Not only does Sola have a long history with working at Northwestern, but he’s also an alumnus from the class of 1990.  “We were much smaller,” he recalled.  “When I came here as a freshman, we had about 800 students, and it felt like we were kind of secluded on this little pastoral piece of land with rolling hills and pretty trees and a beautiful lake and an island.  As a student, it felt like not many people knew who we were or where we were,” he explained.

Because of his involvement in athletics and his affinity for the school, Sola was always a little disappointed when people had never heard of Northwestern before.  “So now, flash forward 30-plus years, I feel like we are more broadly known,” he said, affirming how the success of Northwestern is a credit to its graduates and their reputation in the workplace all over the country.

Sola’s pride in the school and its growth since his time as a student here is obvious.  “I think if you look at our mission statement, we’re producing what we’re trying to say we’re producing,” he expressed.  “I think Northwestern is a better academic institution than it was then.  We were fine then, but I think we’re a little better now.  I think we’re a better athletic institution than we were then, and we were pretty good then,” he said.  Improvement over time is always an institution’s goal, and Sola can verify that Northwestern is meeting that goal.  “I’m not the cabinet, I’m not a faculty member, I’m not the president, but I’m a Northwestern person through and through,” he said.  He is not the only member of his family with a strong connection to the university.  His wife attended Northwestern, as did her parents, and two of his sisters were also Northwestern students after him, along with multiple other family members.  “I’m purple and gold to the core, for sure,” he said.


Do staff members really attend chapel?

by Lisa Fredericks

Although the University of Northwestern’s student handbook states that students must attend roughly 60 percent of the daily chapels each semester, there is no rule requiring staff to follow suit – or even attend at all.

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Meet one of UNW’s newest faculty members

Jenny Cvek

Assistant News Editor

Despite being one of the newest faculty members at the University of Northwestern—St. Paul, Dr. Dale Lemke is diving right in. He calls himself a big believer in Christian higher education and is enthusiastic about Northwestern’s placing on the forefront of that area of the world. As the new chairperson of the department of Christian ministries, Lemke is looking forward to what lies ahead. “[As department chair,] you have this opportunity to both work with students in the classroom but then be involved in administrative leadership,” he said. Lemke came to Northwestern in January and before that, he worked in missions in Japan, church planting, teaching English, and then at Crown College in their ministry program.

Early in his life, Lemke knew that he wanted to go into ministry, and he is now using his gifts to equip young people to follow in a similar path. His heart for the ministry department is that the students would use the skills they obtain while in school to further the gospel in any context. “I was really excited to come to Northwestern because of the influence that Northwest- ern has here in the Twin Cities area, in the state, and beyond,” he said. “I have this conviction that God is calling people to ministry,” he stated, emphasizing that Northwestern equips students to make an impact for the Kingdom of God. “I’m excited that with the network that Northwestern has, we can expand the influence of Christ Jesus.”

Any time a new person steps into leadership, there’s the inevitable question of what’s going to change. Changes are likely; however, they won’t be solely Lemke’s decisions. He said, “The department chair provides leadership, but really, those changes are owned by the department and the faculty.” There had been discussion about curriculum changes prior to his arrival at North- western, so he is now working along- side department in the implementation of new things. “I like to do innovative work with the curriculum so we can best serve our students,” he explained. His desires for the students in his department are that they would be fully committed to Jesus, living in authentic relationships with Him, being able to make disciples in whatever context the Lord places them. “We want them to be launched out of here as whole people who are spiritually healthy so that they can go on and make an impact for Christ’s kingdom.” Lemke greatly values Christian higher education and spoke of its importance in today’s world. “I think in the next ten, twenty, thirty years, it will be really important for institutions to be out there providing leadership and influencing the culture and influence the society in which we live,” he stated.

Spending one’s life dedicated to ministry is a high calling, and Lemke explained it beautifully. “It’s this idea that Christ has called us into this relationship with Him and if we listen to him and go where He wants us to go and serve how He wants us to serve, then He will put us in unique spots for the sake of His kingdom.” In his own life, that looks like being in vocational ministry and training others to do the same. “There’s this great opportunity to show the love of Christ to those around us in the broader society, but in whatever spheres we have influence.”



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