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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Friday, June 14, 2024
The Echo



Montgomery: Story behind the speaker


Aspiring biologist, cross-country runner, enthusiastic learner. Senior Damon Montgomery has been chosen as the student commencement speaker for Taylor’s graduating class of 2024.


Sutherland celebrates 35-year career


Ron Sutherland, special assistant to the president, is officially ending his three-decade career at Taylor. After his retirement last year, the president asked him to stay another year to see through some of the construction projects he was instrumental in starting.


CCO offers interview, career readiness


Are you unsure of what career you’re going into after Taylor? The Calling and Career Office (CCO), located in the Boren Campus Center, is an organization that connects students to internships and careers they may be interested in pursuing. Some of their other services include help building a resume, finding out one’s skill set and even exploring one’s interests to determine how they can help.


Philip Byers: Preparing citizens of heaven


We don’t often dare to imagine that we’d end up working in the same place where we went to school — or even that our mentors could be our employers. For Philip Byers, this became a reality this year as he stepped into the role of Halbrook Chair of Civic Engagement Elect, positioned under his long-time teacher, mentor and friend, Tom Jones.


Behind the scenes, beyond the screens


“I like technology, but I like working with people,” Chris Jones, vice president and chief information officer, said. “The other hat is emergency management.”

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Aubrie Swain pursues identity in Christ, seeks to glorify God


From a tough basketball player to a child of God, freshman Aubrie Swain can testify to her shift in identity at Taylor University. Swain moved to Alabama from Fort Wayne, Indiana after seventh grade. There, she was introduced to basketball. Growing up with three older brothers, she had no choice but to be involved in sports.


Groeling: Stewardship of creation at TU


Taylor’s love for the environment is in the hands of this steward of creation. Starting at the end of last year, sophomore Josh Groeling became president of Stewards of Creation, a student-organized club that dedicates itself to promoting a love for God’s creation of the natural world and our calling to let it prosper.


The celebration of an artist’s journey


Each year, seniors in the art department collaborate to consider how they might showcase their portfolios to colleagues, friends and family. Historically, the seniors have been separated between groupings of their different art majors; the illustration, graphic design and photography students’ showcase usually takes place at a different time than that of the studio art, art therapy and art education students. This year, the art seniors chose to come together: one show, one night.


Ilium captures an unprecedented year


A year like Taylor has experienced this 2023-2024 academic year will no doubt make its mark in the history books — but it’s not just historians who care about what’s been happening in the cornfields of Upland, Indiana.

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Unity formed abroad brings unity home


The lady in the teal dress and little white heels turned and beckoned for them to come in. She found them seats and turned on a fan. The group was underdressed, crazy, sweaty and wet. They were standing out in the street, listening to music. It was Good Friday. A team of 14 from Olson Hall with two leaders was in the final days of their trip to the Dominican Republic (DR) in a city on the northern side of the island called Santiago.

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Pursuing calling and creativity post-grad


Calling, career, creativity — these are not just ideas that senior Olivia Heinen encounters in her job as lead graphic designer for the Calling and Career Office (CCO) on campus, but also as she considers what she might want to pursue following graduation from Taylor this spring.

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Verhagen embraces academia


From Upland to Massachusetts, from Ireland to Scotland — he didn’t know if his doctorate in theology and philosophy would lead him to a career in academia. Yet Koert Verhagen, assistant professor of philosophy and religion, took a leap of faith.

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From the loop to the streets of Los Angeles


Over the Fall semester, a group of five Taylor students, including senior Aidan Merck, starred in their adventure abroad in the town of the silver screen. Merck is a film and media studies major who spent this past Fall studying abroad in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, to intern with two different documentary companies.


Beyond the jerseys: FCA unites athletes


During his undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University, Hodgson served in sports ministry. At Taylor, he is pursuing his master’s degree and is continuing to connect athletes across campus through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, also known as FCA.

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Kids Hope mentors serve Upland youth


One-on-one relationships — the foundation of the national organization, Kids Hope USA. The organization partners churches across the country with local elementary and middle schools to offer positive, consistent mentorship for children. Kids Hope mentors meet for one hour each week to spend time with their designated mentee. Near Taylor, Upland Community Church (UCC) partners with Eastbrook South Elementary School. Kids Hope mentors in the area must either be members of UCC or students at Taylor.


NYFW: networking meets the runway


In anticipation of life after his final semester at Taylor, senior Deokjun Lee has been working to build his portfolio — and in no ordinary way. This past February, Lee spontaneously decided to book a flight to New York Fashion Week (NYFW), a semi-annual week of events in Manhattan similar to those held in Paris, London and Milan: a collaboration of designers, influencers, models and publicists in the fashion industry across the globe.


Living life in the sky: Carlos Olivares shares his story


Olivares is the grandson of Stephen Damer, a fighter pilot of six years and a previous American Airlines pilot for about 30 years. As Olivares was growing up, Damer would take him and his siblings flying, looking to instill this same love for aviation in the younger generation.

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Clementz: walking with God in trust


“It’s crazy what God had in store.” Emily Clementz made this comment after reflecting on a full day of teaching at Eastbrook High School to grab a bite of food, sushi, which slowly disappeared. Now, not even a full year after her college graduation, she is back in Bergwall, serving as the interim hall director. Clementz lived in Berg for her first two years at Taylor, so it's not unfamiliar ground.