Day of Gratitude

We are grateful for the support of the Bluffton community.  Whether that be financial support, mentoring and advising students, serving the community around us, volunteering, cheering on our student athletes, or simply being there for the Bluffton community, we are truly grateful for you.

Nov. 30, 2021, is Giving Tuesday, a day where people are encouraged to unleash the power of “radical generosity” around the world. To celebrate the generosity of the Bluffton community, we invite you to submit a message of gratitude to someone in the Bluffton University circle who has positively impacted your life. We will post the messages below and some may be shared on our social media pages.

Submit your note 

Finally, when you are considering the organizations you support this Giving Tuesday, we invite you to join our Great Adventure challenge to fund the remaining half of The Great Adventure for 2022. 

If you have already given this year, thank you, we appreciate your support of Bluffton students.

Notes of gratitude 

From our alumni... 

Sara Kisseberth ’86 is grateful for Ron Geiser.

“I am grateful for my experience working as a student writer in what was then called the Communications Office with Ron Geiser. He gave me a "beat" to gather information each week from academic and music departments, taught me to compose on a typewriter and write in AP style. Later he brought me back to Bluffton as a staff member. I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am today without the mentoring and guidance Ron provided.”

Bill Hudson '74 is grateful for Fred Amstutz.

"Fred was the Marbeck Center Director. He and I really meshed at a conference we attended in Cincinnati and became lifelong friends.  We stayed in contact with each other throughout his life.

The lessons I learned from him in just getting along with others regardless of their…our…idiosyncrasies, and to move forward with my career and life, in a manner that followed learned edicts from my years at Bluffton College. 

We shared a room that weekend in Cincinnati and neither of us got much sleep that entire weekend.  We talked long into the night on many subjects, real world subjects.  We learned so much from each other.

Years later, as I was driving to a summer teaching job at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, I stopped and asked directions to his home.  I wanted him to meet my wife and kids.  We followed the directions and I saw a man out working on his lawn and stopped and asked him where Fred lived..  yup, you guessed it, the man was Fred.  We ran to each other, hugged, cried.  I finally got around to introducing him to my wife and son’s.  We remembered that for the rest of their lives.

Great man…great role model…better friend.  We learned a lot from each other."

Wes Hall '03 is grateful for Dr. Gayle Trollinger and Melinda Berdanier.

"I am thankful to both for helping me in my pursuit of an early childhood education degree. I am grateful that Mrs. Trollinger understood the importance for me to complete in four years. She helped me with scheduling and some field experience decision making. Mrs. Berdanier was my rock as I completed my student teaching. I appreciated both individuals patience and encouragement through the highs and lows."

Lara Gephart '94 is grateful for Dr. James Satterwhite. 

"He was an incredibly demanding professor, but I learned so much from him that I still use today in a completely different field of work."

Sheryl Cunningham '00 is grateful for the English Department and Dr. Lamar Nisly.

"I want to thank the entire English department for making me a better reader, writer, and thinker.  And a special thank you to Dr. Lamar Nisly for encouraging me to do an honors thesis and telling me I should consider going to graduate school. I had never thought about graduate school, but learning that I might be able to get it paid for with teaching or research assistantships made all the difference.  (And sorry for making you read all those really long war novels for my honors thesis Lamar... somehow we made it!)"

Cory Goldfuss '03 is grateful for Dr. Michael D. Edmiston '72. 

"Thanks for your years of service and impact on myself and others!  I still share memories of some of my favorite lectures today and even thumb through my digital and linear electronics notes from time to time." 

Lois Weidner-Marshall '74 is grateful for Dr. Bob Suter '63. 

"I never would have gotten out of bed for a 7:40 a.m. class if Bob hadn’t been such an interesting teacher of freshman Chem-Phys. In fact he’s the reason I majored in both chemistry and biology. My plan had been to major in biology only.  But he was only the first of the outstanding profs I had in the sciences, Dick Pannabecker, Maury Kauffman, Dick Weaver and Vern Schirch followed. I also had Mike Edmiston as a lab assistant and he had already embroidered Dr. Edmiston on his lab coat as a junior.  Thanks to these incredible professors my education at Bluffton was excellent prep for my Masters program at Michigan Tech and medical research in my first job."

Tricia Griffieth '21 is grateful for Dr. Jonathan Andreas. 

"Thank you for your patience while I was your student. I still don’t understand but I will go with it. Thank you!"

Claire Clay '18 is grateful for the President's Ambassadors. 

"These students have been extremely dedicated and reliable. They have helped admissions bring in prospective students by giving exceptional campus tours and have helped the advancement office by engaging with alumni and donors who visit our campus. These students make my job so enjoyable!"

Caroline Schutz '21 is grateful for Dr. Martina Cucchiara. 

"From the time I was a student to my transition to a full - time staff member, Martina has always gone out of her way to make me feel appreciated and a sense of belonging here at Bluffton. I will forever be thankful for her kindness!"

Jodi (Wince) Factor '89 is grateful for Betty Sommer. 

"In memory of Betty Sommer, Professor of Social Work. She helped us become caring and giving professionals!  Thank you!"  

Grace Branson '21 is grateful for Dr. Perry Bush.

"Thank you for pushing me to be my best and preparing me for the next step in life."

Mercedes Burns '18 is grateful for her friendships. 

"I am so thankful for the friendships I made at Bluffton that have become more like family."

Eli Dorman '96 is grateful for his professors. 

"I am thankful for the investment of my professors while I was a student at Bluffton.  They never treated you like a task to check off their list.  I always felt like they were invested in my college experience and took the time to shepherd me through the process.  I can remember multiple hour meetings with my advisor that went from planning for classes and went into deep discussions of faith and life.  Grateful to have had the Bluffton experience!"

Amanda Outland '19 is grateful for Melissa Green. 

"I am grateful to her for helping me find my career path. She is the reason for what I do today. Without her marketing and sales classes I would not have ever been able to decide what I wanted to major in. She is a wonderful person and we were always grateful for the snacks she brought in!"

Natalie Nikitas '14 is grateful for Bluffton. 

"I am grateful for the very unique experience Bluffton gave to me that has shaped my life along with the wonderful professors who helped mold me into the educator I am today. "

An anonymous alumni is grateful for Harriet (Agard) Tipton '66. 

"I am grateful for her friendship all these years and her emotional support at my daughter's wedding 31 years ago."

Dani Larson '07 is grateful for Mark Bourassa and Dr. Gayle Trollinger.

"Gayle sat with me when I changed my major and made sure I could find a way to graduate in 4 years. She saw my needs and worked hard to make sure I got everything I needed and then some.

Mark saw my leadership abilities and potential before anyone else ever did. He pushed me to be a great student leader. He is a true example of a servant leader. He pushed me to be my best and to serve as I have been served."

Emily (Griffith) Price '18 is grateful for Amber (Edwards) Groppi '18, Michelle Miller '18, and Shayla (Hayes) Benecke '18. 

"I am so thankful for my first Bluffton friends and bridesmaids at my wedding."

Anna (Hairston) Miller '17 is grateful for the art department. 

"Phil Sugden, for your easygoing personality that helped a little anxious artist embrace the challenge of painting people.

Jim Fultz, for your help in seeing things from a different perspective and pushing me creatively.

Andi Baumgartner, for your critiques that helped me look at my own art more critically to make the best of my abilities." 

Lori Schwieterman '83 is grateful for Coach Kim Fisher and her teammates. 

"I am thankful for Coach Kim Fischer and all my teammates who helped develop my philosophy in life and coaching. After 38 years of coaching I look back and am truly blessed by the people I’ve crossed paths with. I received the 2010 OHSAA Sportsmanship Ethics and Integrity Award (SEI) and can relate that directly to my roots from my days at Bluffton."  

Molly (Pawsey) Berry '05 is grateful for Bluffton. 

"I am forever thankful for my time at Bluffton, and the ways I was challenged to be a deeper thinker, better person, and conscience citizen. The faculty and staff at Bluffton helped me see all of the possibility that existed in the world, and I am forever grateful for their guidance and support. I wouldn't be who I am without my time at Bluffton."

Karen (Miller) Mareco '73 is grateful for Bluffton's beauty. 

"The beauty of the Bluffton campus.  Walking through campus when snowflakes were falling; the bright colors of the trees in the fall; the campus green and flowering in the spring.  All of this gave a special quality to life at Bluffton that was soothing and nourishing amid the studies and activities." 

Jacob Litwiller '11 is grateful for Dr. Jeff Boehm and the music department.

"I am thankful for the education I received in the music department, and especially for Dr. Jeff Boehm, who influenced me as an educator in such a positive way. Not a week goes by where the impact Dr. Boehm and the Bluffton music department had on me is not reflected in my teaching."

Amanda (Moon) May '96 is grateful for Kay Hardesty. 

"I had an amazing college experience at Bluffton. The person who made the most impact in my life as a student and my career is Kay Hardesty. He was such a positive man who treated everyone equally. He had faith in all of his students and was the biggest influence in my decision to go into the field of corrections. I am grateful to have had him as a professor and mentor."

Katie Vennekotter '07 is grateful for Megan (Warren) Dalton '06. 

"I am thankful for Megan (Warren) Dalton and her kindness, friendship, and generosity.  So happy that all those years ago we met living down the hall from each other on 3rd Hirschy!!"

Susan Kauffman '80 is grateful for Bluffton. 

"The entire Bluffton experience. I don't think a major university experience would have prepared me so well for my current teaching at community colleges: the family atmosphere was so similar, and the personal attention from professors modeled for me the way I need to operate where I am!"

John King '91 is grateful for Dr. Edith Painter and Dr. Don Schweingruber. 

"I am so thankful for Dr. Edith Painter who was my psychology professor.  What an amazing lady!  She was the very first ever winner of the teaching award at Bluffton in 1991.  I was so privileged to serve as her psychology department assistant for two years.  I will also never forget when she was diagnosed with cancer in the Fall of 1990.  She had surgery to remove a lesion on her brain, and then 5 DAYS LATER, she walked the steps of Old Main to teach her five senior seminary students.  She brought her two siamese cats, and her husband, to teach class that day.  I will never forget her commitment to us as students.

I am also so grateful for Dr. Don Schweingruber, who brought me on as an RA my sophomore and junior years, and as a Hall Director of Bren-Dell Hall in 1990-1991.  The phrase "It's all about relationships" at the bench in front of the art building so appropriately describes his leadership philosophy.  I so appreciated his mentorship and care for me as a student leader.

Both Don Schweingruber and Edith Painter influenced me in my career path of 26 years of pastoral ministry, and most recently as Assistant professor of Counseling at Liberty University.  They may have departed from this earth, but their legacy lives in me and in hundreds of other former students."

Wendra (Blose) Tuell '86 is grateful for Dr. Steve Jacoby. 

"Dr. Jacoby was the founder and director of Camerata Singers which began my junior year.  He had such a laid back personality, yet conducted a choral group of perfection.  He demanded excellence from his musicians, yet put up with a ball or a brownie being passed behind the backs of singers during a concert.  He created “flash mobs” before they were popular, having us quickly gather in the middle of a mall, sing something, and then wander off…. He was helpful, knowledgeable, and truly cared about his students.  I appreciated all of my professors at Bluffton, but he was definitely a favorite.  Thank you Dr. Jacoby!"

From our students... 

Trisha Elliott '22 is grateful for Rebecca Cox. 

"Rebecca Cox has been a wonderful resource to me in my time at Bluffton. Whether it is a question about a textbook, my schedule, or loans, Becky is my go to person. I would be lost without her!"

Randy Keeler's BAS Class of 2025 are grateful for Dr. Randy Keeler '80. 

"We are thankful for Randy treating us all equally, for buying us candy, and for being the best BAS instructor. Thank you for everything, we appreciate you OG Randy."

Paige Lawhorn '23 is grateful for Tim Byers '75. 

"I am thankful for Mr. Tim Byers for helping lead me to becoming not only a good teacher but a better person. I’m honored to have gotten the chance to learn from such an inspiring person." 

Paris Cheek '23 is grateful for Dr. Jackie Wyse-Rhodes. 

"Jackie Wyse-Rhodes and her passion to make sure others know just how much their life matters. Time and time again I live by saying that my Bluffton experience is completely driven by the way our professors interact with their students and the compassion Jackie shows towards every individual she crosses paths with is truly heart warming. I never knew someone could be so kind to a stranger before meeting her and I’m grateful Bluffton showed me her. If I leave Bluffton with half the heart she has I will be proud of my time spent here."

Cierra Long '23 is grateful for Dr. Paul Neufeld Weaver '81. 

"I am thankful for Paul Neufeld Weaver, not only for being one of my professors, but for being one of my mentors. I’ve never experienced an education authority figure help me pursue my passions and fight for what is right until meeting Paul. He advises PEACE Club and guides me in any way he can to help me lead the club. Paul has shared many of his personal experiences as a nonviolent activist and he has reminded me that I can both be a scholar and a social justice warrior."

Amy Marshall '22 is grateful for Holly Metzger. 

"She has been such an amazing supporter for students all over campus and for me personally. She’s pushed me to take on roles that were out of my comfort zone and helped me on my really bad days. She’s one of the most reliable people I’ve ever met and I hope she knows how much she is appreciated by campus and by me!"

Jordan Jennings '24 is grateful for friendships and the women's soccer team. 

"I am thankful for the friendships I’ve formed at Bluffton, especially the women’s soccer team. No matter how stressful life gets, no matter what adversity you’re fighting through there is always someone on campus willing to help you even if it’s just as simple as listening."

Riley Garmatter '24 is grateful for Emily Warner and the Admissions team.

"I am thankful for Emily Warner and the Admissions squad. Thank you for welcoming me, pushing me, and constantly being a light in my experience at Bluffton."

Olivia Westcott ’23 is grateful for Marathana Prothro.

"She is such an amazing role model and is always able to help me get through tough times. She is a big part of why I’m here at Bluffton, and I’m so lucky to be able to have you as a key professor for my convergent media major."

Madison Staton '23 is grateful for Tyson Goings '01. 

"Thank you Tyson for helping me and other students navigate through the hardships of college and life in general!"

Macey Thomas '25 is grateful for Carrie Mast '95. 

"Carrie Mast had not only helped me through schoolwork, but has been someone I feel comfortable going to for anything. She has helped me navigate through this new journey in life, and I thank God for bringing me to a Bluffton and to her classroom. She cares deeply for each one of us, and treats us with respect and love in all of her teaching."

From our faculty and staff... 

Dr. Wood is grateful for your support.

“I am grateful for dedicated Trustees, Alumni, and friends who support our University, especially for the incredible support for the Bluffton Blueprint.”

Iris Neufeld '82 is grateful for Lawrence Matthews '78.

"He is always willing to meet with a student to see if there are ways he can help with financial aid."

Jessi Samuel is grateful for Bluffton. 

“I am incredibly grateful to be part of Bluffton’s educational mission that instills a strong sense of purpose, a sense of responsibility and a love for seeking the answer in each and every student.”

Tricia Bell is grateful for her student workers. 

"I am thankful for our past and present student workers in public relations. They provide creativity and inspiration, share important feedback and help us complete projects!"

Dr. Wood is grateful for Bluffton. 

“I am grateful for the commitment of the Bluffton University Campus Community to advance our mission.”

Heidi Mercer is grateful for Brave Space. 

"I am so thankful for Brave Space and the students, alumni, faculty, staff, and administration that supports our LGBTQ+ community here on campus.  Being inclusive and supportive to those in this community is much needed and greatly appreciated!"

Katie Vennekotter '07 is grateful for Iris Neufeld '82 and Carrie Mast '95. 

" Iris Neufeld and Carrie Mast have been so welcoming, encouraging, and understanding throughout the past 9 months.  I feel very blessed to work with these ladies!"

James Grandey is grateful for the coaches and athletic staff. 

"I am thankful for the coaches and staff members of our athletic department who continue to work to develop and grow our programs while having a positive impact on our student-athletes and the experiences they have on campus."

Dr. Wood is grateful for the Building and Grounds Department.

“I am grateful for all their work as we build the Knowlton Science Centre and anticipate winter ahead.”

Jessi Samuel is grateful for James Grandey.

“I am grateful to James Grandey for encouraging me to be Bluffton’s cheerleading coach. He has welcomed me into such a fantastic community!”

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Kai Smith '22. 

"Kai, you are so wonderful and kind to others and your mentorship in the classroom is so brilliant!  You will never know how you have supported your peers, professors, campus, and community.   Your future is so bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Amy Marshall '22. 

"Amy, you are wonderfully thoughtful and considerate with supporting students' different perspectives in and outside the classroom.  Your capacity to bridge and include everyone is humbling.  Your future is bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Risa Fukaya '22. 

"Risa, your kind and calm demeanor on campus is much needed.  You are highly thoughtful and you are able to discern how to approach situations with thoughtfulness.  These are soft skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. Your future is bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Wilmar Caal Botzoc '22. 

"Wilmar, thank you for bringing your whole self into the classroom.  You consideration for others and how you can take what you learn here at Bluffton to make the world a better place is humbling.  Your future is bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Joel Johnson '22.

"Joel,  thank you for patience and kindness to others in and outside of the classroom. I am so grateful of the time and care you give all your assignments in the classroom.  Your future is bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Kayla Ferguson '22.

"Kayla, I am so grateful for your deep appreciation and capacity for inclusiveness.  Your openness to learning about others and how to be thoughtful to bring under represented voices to the table is humbling.  Your future is bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Kanisha Smith '22.

"Kanisha, thank you for being so organized and determined.  You are a fierce advocate for yourself and this will most definitely translate to advocating for others you will work with.  Your future is bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Jessica Pratt '22.

"Jessica, thank you for being wonderfully awesome!  You have made a fantastic mark here at Bluffton in the classroom and in your role with Buildings and Grounds.  You care deeply about your work in all the spheres and I appreciate your work ethic and determination.  Your future is bright!"

An anonymous faculty member is grateful for Abbie Davis '22.

"Abbie, thank you for bringing perspective of practical working in the classroom.  When you share these perspectives, you have an ability to open up others' perspectives and insight.  You are the definition of resiliency and hard work/determination.  Your future is bright!"