University of Evansville

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

* Abigail Werling Named Interim Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations

Abigail Werling has been named the interim vice president for development and alumni relations for the University of Evansville. This announcement comes after Jack Barner’s retirement following 13 years in the position.

“Abigail was an obvious choice to step into the role of interim vice president,” says UE president Tom Kazee. “She has an impressive record of success as a major gifts officer, has developed great relationships with many friends of the University, and is committed to sustaining the philanthropic momentum that Jack Barner has generated.”

Abigail came to UE in 2004, and has since moved up through the office of development in positions including assistant director of gift planning and capital support, corporate and foundation relations officer, and most recently as the director of gift planning and capital support. In addition to her career at UE, Abigail also worked at Indiana State University as the Director of Development.

“I am honored by the opportunity to have been selected to serve as the interim vice president for development and alumni relations,” Abigail says. “Stepping into this role to join an accomplished administrative and academic leadership team led by Dr. Kazee, a highly capable and supportive Board of Trustees, and a truly talented and hard-working team in development and alumni relations, excites me. I look forward to continuing our division's success whose foundation has been set by the invaluable leadership of Jack Barner.”

Abigail will oversee operations in alumni and parent relations, annual giving, stewardship and special events, gift planning and capital support, and research and advancement services.

“Being involved with fundraising for and completion of the Ridgway University Center is certainly a highlight of my career at UE so far,” Abigail recalls. “The transformation it has and continues to make on our campus is immense.”

Abigail also worked with the class of 1959’s 50th reunion project, chaired by Rita Eykamp, that raised $250,000 to name the Class of 1959 Gallery and Lounge on the second floor of the Ridgway University Center. Early in her tenure at the University, Abigail also enjoyed working with volunteers, donors, and faculty members in the sciences on the Kresge Science Initiative.

“I’m excited for Abigail,” says Jack Barner. “She has grown professionally over the years, and this is an obvious next step for her; it’s a great opportunity.”

Abigail says she is most looking forward to “the challenges of continuing Jack Barner’s excellent work and combining my own personal experiences and direction to the continued forward movement of the University.” 


Info You Should Know

* Seeking UE Staff Members as Mock Jurors for University of Evansville Research Project

The University of Evansville's Psychology and Law Research Laboratory is seeking UE staff (non-students and non-faculty) to participate as mock jurors in a mock trial, as part of a grant-funded research project. Staff members must be U.S. citizens who are 18-years-old or older. Those participating will receive $40 for their time.

The mock trial will last no more than two hours. All participants will read a description of a mock trial and watch video-taped evidence depicting an alleged murder. All participants will then deliberate as a group to attempt to reach a consensual verdict.

We are purposefully recruiting only UE staff and not students or faculty so that our sample is more representative of the general pool of jurors in a typical community. As you might imagine, it is extremely challenging to effectively recruit a sample of participants who are representative of any given community, and so your participation is very valuable and greatly encouraged.

Moreover, we encourage you to share this opportunity with eligible friends or family members (basically anyone who is jury-eligible and a non-college student). Spreading the word about this opportunity will go a long way toward helping us recruit enough participants (we need 300 total participants).

Those who would like to participate or who have questions, should contact Dr. Margaret Stevenson's research laboratory manager Evan McCracken at 

* UE Featured in Chronicle of Higher Education Special Report

The University of Evansville is currently featured in a special report in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The article - What it Takes to Make the Class – discusses how UE encourages potential students to apply and those admitted to enroll. You can read the article here.


* Health Screening Information

Employee annual health screenings are June 9, 10, 11 in the Health Center. Schedule up to 2 appointments when you sign in to AceLink. There is a recommendation for a 12 hour fast because triglycerides are included with the blood fat/cholesterol testing. However, if you are selecting a Wednesday afternoon appointment, please arrive with no less than a 2 hour fast (we will not interpret your triglycerides unless you are fully fasting). Triglycerides do not affect your HRA credit.

Questions? Email or

* Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, Summer, 2015

The summer Healthy Lifestyle Challenge is June 14 - August 8. Complete rules and a weekly tally form is in AceLink>Wellness>Healthy Lifestyle Challenge. If you want to receive a weekly tally form plus additional health information, sign up during the Health Screenings June 9, 10, 11.
Contact or with questions. 

* Bookstore Closed May 29

The Bookstore will be closed Friday, May 29th so that we may complete our year end inventory. There will be no access to the store that day, please plan your purchases accordingly. 

* July 4 Holiday

The University will observe the July 4, 2015 holiday on Friday, July 3, 2015. 

* Reminder: Time to Reconcile May Pcard Cycle

The May Cycle began on 4/22/15 and ends on 5/21/15. Transactions may be reconciled through out the month and reports printed as of 5/23/15 until the GL lockout on 5/28/15. 



* Jack Barner to Retire after 13 years at UE as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations

John C. “Jack” Barner’s accomplished career in education is coming to a close as he celebrates his retirement this month. His tenure began at the University of Evansville in 2002 as the vice president of development and alumni relations His long career is filled with many achievements and successes.

In 2013, Bill Ridgway’s gift to UE was one of the top 50 gifts for anything in the United States that year, and Jack was a part of it.

“Bill Ridgway left us $38 million—that was a career highlight,” Jack says. “I had worked with Bill for 12 years. He had already given us $10 million for Ridgway University Center and another $3 million for the endowment, so we’re talking about over 50 million dollars from one man—that’s astounding!”

Dr. Tom Kazee, UE president, says it’s Jack’s understanding of philanthropy and the critical role it plays in supporting the University that has been instrumental in building a remarkable record of giving to UE.

“Our donors often tell me how much they enjoy working with Jack, and especially how much they enjoy the personal relationships they develop with him,” Kazee says. “He knows that success in fundraising is more than just asking for money—it’s about treating people with respect and sensitivity to their personal circumstances.”

Jack had a long career before coming to the University of Evansville. He received his BA in History from Siena College and Masters in Political Science at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Jack taught at South Colonie High School for 19 years.  While teaching, Jack also served as a member of the Albany County Legislature, chairing the finance committee of that body.  He then became director of admission at the College of Saint Rose, later to be hired by Colgate University as the director of the Annual Fund Office.  He served at Colgate for over five years where he became the associate director of development.  He was then hired by Winthrop University in South Carolina where he was executive director of development. He was then recruited by Elon College in North Carolina to be the vice president of University Advancement in charge of public relations, fundraising, alumni affairs and church relations.  Five years later, he became the vice president at Oklahoma City University with similar duties before moving on to UE.

“I’ve worked for UE longer than I’ve ever worked for another university, and I’ve worked for a number of them,” says Jack. “Evansville has been a wonderful place to work. I’m literally excited every day I go into the office. I’ve been fortunate to have two very good bosses here; both Steve Jennings and Tom Kazee have been wonderful people to work with.”

Other highlights of his time at UE included his involvement in the McCarthy Greenhouse, the expansion of the Schroeder Family School of Business, and the Bower Suhrheinrich library renovations, which have recently begun.

“Jack has played a key role in just about every major project the University has undertaken, and every gift we’ve received, in the last decade,” says president Kazee.

Though he was involved in many projects during his time here, it’s the people that Jack says he’ll miss the most about the University of Evansville. “I’ll miss working with the team I’ve trained and mentored and coached. I’ll miss the donors, too. Some of these people have become close personal friends and I will work hard to keep all them as close as possible.”

Jack will still be around campus, though. He is staying involved with the office of development as the planned giving officer. He will work with people on estate planning to help donors figure out how best to help the university through bequests, shareable remainder trusts, annuities, lead trusts, and other options. 

* 2015 UE Civil Engineering Graduate Places First in National ASCE Student Competition

Chris Unzicker, 2015 graduate from the University of Evansville’s civil engineering program, finished first in the nation with his submission to the Daniel W. Mead Student Contest sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Unzicker was presented with the national award at a ceremony held Wednesday, May 27, on UE’s campus.

ASCE judges performed a blind review of the submissions and gave awards for the top five papers in this national competition. Universities from across the country submitted just one paper to represent their institution on the topic Should the Engineer of Record (who has a sealed set of plans) be held responsible, to any degree, for injury or death to builders or bystanders that occurs during the construction of his/her design?

Entries came from some of the top civil engineering programs in the nation.

“The competition was fierce,” says Dr. Brian Swenty, chair of the mechanical and civil engineering department at UE.

“To place in the top five is an honor, but Chris placed first in the nation! This speaks well of both Chris and the civil engineering program at UE,” he says.

All 15 of UE’s civil engineering 2015 seniors wrote submissions to the contest during the two-semester long senior capstone design sequence. Students submitted draft papers during the fall semester, which were graded and handed back. Students then revised the papers and resubmitted them early in the spring semester. From there, a panel of three judges performed a blind review and selected the best paper to represent UE. As the author of the best paper, Unzicker was given approximately two weeks to take the judges’ comments into consideration and make final edits to his paper before the submission deadline of March 1.

“This award is recognized as an individual achievement, but it’s really far from that,” says Unzicker. “I would not have won this award without the outstanding education I received at UE, and more importantly, it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication the civil engineering professors showed my classmates and me throughout these four years.” 

* Bill Baer receives NewPlayFest Award

Professor of Creative Writing William Baer’s full-length play, Lighthouse, has been chosen as one of this year’s winners of NewPlayFest, a national competition sponsored by AACT (The American Association of Community Theater).  The award will be announced on June 26th at the AACT Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the play will receive a full production and a three-to-six night run at the Windsor Community Playhouse in Windsor, Colorado, later this year.

* University Chaplain Invited to Participate in Wesley Day Commemoration

University Chaplain, Tamara Gieselman, was invited to participate in the Wesley Day Commemoration hosted by Wesley's Chapel, the World Cathedral of Methodism on Sunday, May 24 in London, England. The annual celebration marked the 277th anniversary of John and Charles Wesley's conversion experience, May 24 and May 21, respectively in 1738. The commemorative pilgrimage on Sunday began in the Bunhill Fields cemetery on City Road, where Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles, is buried. Here, Gieselman participated in the Office at the Grave of Susanna Wesley. The journey continued to the Conversion Flame Monument at the Museum of London on Aldersgate Street, and concluded at St. Paul's Cathedral with Evensong and the Office at the North Steps where the Laying of the Wreath was offered at the bronze John Wesley sculpture. 

* Gieselman, Reed Invited to Lead Worship in Penzance, England

OrganTamara Gieselman, University Chaplain, and Douglas Reed, University Organist Emeritus, have been invited to lead worship at the historic Mousehole Methodist Chapel at Penzance in Cornwall, England on Sunday, May 31. Rev Julyan Drew, Superintendent Minister has extended the Mousehole pulpit to Dr. Gieselman who will preach and Dr. Reed will provide organ music on the historic Heard organ. The May 31 connection has been made possible through the work of lay minister, Katherine Baxter, who serves with Rev. Dr. Leslie Griffiths at Wesley’s Chapel in Central London.

Gieselman and Reed are currently in residence during the summer session at Harlaxton College. Gieselman is teaching Living World Religions and Reed is serving as guest lecturer and co-guide for a series of field trips related to the course.

Methodism and Cornwall

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, first visited Cornwall in 1743 and visited a total of thirty-two times before his death in 1791. On one of his very early visits, Wesley and two of his traveling companions were forced to share just one horse during a grueling six-day journey from London, which was made even more difficult because of heavy snow.

As a result of Wesley’s work, historians report that Cornwall took to Methodism like no other county in England. For a community of miners, facing danger at work every day, farmers and fishermen, threatened by creeping industrialization, Wesley's simple doctrine of justification through faith and instant salvation offered comfort, security and hope. John Wesley also set up health and literacy facilities in order to help the impoverished improve their lot, thus making Methodism the religion of the people.

Originally a movement designed to invigorate the Church of England from within, Methodism, certainly in Cornwall, began to drift apart from it. By 1851 Cornwall was the only county outside of North Wales where attendees at Methodist chapels were in the majority and by the mid-nineteenth century Methodism in Cornwall had become so widespread that the vicar of Crowan was forced to admit that 'the religion of the mass is become Wesleyan Methodism'.

Methodism continues to flourish in Cornwall and out of the county's seven hundred chapels over eighty percent are Methodist.

* Congratulations 2015-2016 Global Scholars!

The Institute for Global Enterprise is pleased to announce the Global Scholars for the 2015-16 academic year.  Congratulations to Dr. Robert Dion, Department Chair of Law, Politics, and Society, and Associate Professor of Political Science;  Dr. Lora Becker, Associate Professor of Psychology; and Dr. Atefeh Yazdanparast, Assistant Professor of Marketing.  Each Global Scholar will receive a stipend and travel allowance.

Robert Dion

Dr. Robert Dion
Department Chair, Law, Politics and Society
Associate Professor of Political Science

Dr. Dion will pursue original research into the treatment of religious groups in contemporary Western democracies.  Important cross-cultural tensions have flared up in recent years in Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – including right here in Indiana this year.  In many instances, the disputes have revolved around how to accommodate the wishes of religious minorities.  A comparative case study could yield a richer understanding of why some nations approach these matters in the ways that they do.

Lora Becker

Dr. Lora Becker
Associate Professor of Psychology

Atefeh Yazdanparast

Dr. Atefeh Yazdanparast
Assistant Professor of Marketing

Drs. Becker and Yazdanparast will collaborate on cross-cultural neuromarketing research examining emotional responses of citizens in a collectivist culture (China) as compared to those living in an individualistic culture (Australia).  They will be consulting with Rafal Ohme, PhD, Visiting Professor at Renmin, University of China; and Saman Khajehzadeh, PhD, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Mr. Lee Marquardt, Behavioral Laboratory Administrator, Department of Marketing, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia about neuromarketing techniques and procedures.

As Global Scholars, the recipients of this award will engage in scholarship, curriculum development, and activities related to preparing our students and community for global leadership, citizenry, and success. The Global Scholars program is supported by the John H. Schroeder Global Scholar Endowed Fund and Lilly Endowment Inc.

* Biology Student Joins Research Lab

Congratulations to Andrew Abab ('15) who will be spending the next year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham doing research under the supervision Dr. Jennifer Pollock ('78). Andrew will serve as a lab technician in the Department Cardio-Renal Physiology and Medicine at UAB. 

* Professor Kretz Featured Poet at Slant, PG Cafe, May 31, 7-9

Professor Kretz will be one of the featured poets (along with the incredibly talented Peggy Pirro) at the Slant Poetry Reading at PG Café (1418 West Franklin Street) Sunday May 31st, 7-9pm. Please consider yourself warmly invited.

* Civil Engineering Faculty Wins the ASCE Outstanding Reviewer Award

Suresh Immanuel Selvaraj, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering from the College of Engineering and Computer Science has received the 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Outstanding Reviewer award in recognition of outstanding service as a reviewer for the Journal of Transportation Engineering. He was selected to receive this recognition from approximately four hundred transportation researchers and practicing engineers worldwide who serve as reviewers for this journal. 



* Women's Soccer Golf Classic set for June 29

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville Women’s Soccer Golf Classic is set to take place on Monday June 29 at Cambridge Golf Course. It is one of the largest fundraisers of the year for the soccer program.

Set for June 29, the event begins with lunch and registration from 11 a.m. until noon. Play commences at noon before an award ceremony will be held at approximately 5 p.m. after all golfers are finished with their rounds.

Cost for a foursome is $400 while individuals may sign up for $100. Hole sponsors are also available for just $100.

For questions or to sign up, please contact head coach Krista McKendree at 812-760-5023 or


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