Friday, April 6, 2012

It Was Graceland Before Elvis was Born

This weekend, Lee and Pearl are participating in a college visit to Lee's Alma Mater, Graceland University. His parents are also former students. As are his brother and sister-in-love.

Just as an aside, because I'm nerdy this way, Alma Mater means "Nourishing Mother".
Graceland was established in 1895. For those that are math nerds (not me, but I'll do simple subtraction for the sake of discussion), Elvis was born in 1935. A full 40 years after the opening of Graceland.
Unfortunately, when students from Graceland University tell folks where they go, they have to phrase it this way, "I go to Graceland University. NonotthatgracelandithasnothingtodowithElvis."
This beautiful edifice was the first building. It still stands today and houses the administration offices.
It's tiny college, with a big academic profile.
In addition to the quick facts below that I borrowed from their webpage, Graceland also participates in SIFE. In world competition in 2006, they placed 2nd. Huge, ginormous, colossal, gargantuan, accomplishment for a school that has just over 2,000 students.

Fast Facts:

Graceland University, founded in 1895, is a private, four-year liberal arts university.

Recognized by the Princeton Review as a top school in the Midwest.

Academic Programs: Over 50 academic programs, including 9 pre-professional programs, 35 undergraduate majors, 3 master degrees with 8 majors and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

Online Programs: Graceland offers online degree programs to 900 students in education, nursing and religion.

Student to faculty ratio: 15:1

Faculty: 79 full-time faculty, 70% with a Ph.D. or other terminal degree.

Students: 1,710 full-time students and 561 part-time students.

Student Profile (2011 New Freshman class - Lamoni campus):

Average ACT:23Average GPA:3.3562%
Representing 42 states and 34 countries
Student Organizations: 54

Notable Alumni:

Dr. David Carmichael, MD, Cardiologist
Jeff Criswell, retired offensive lineman, Kansas City Chiefs
Dr. Fred Hausheer, Owner, BioNumerik Pharmaceutical
Bruce Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist, Decathlon
Teresa Carpenter, Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Graduate Schools Most attended by Graceland Graduates:

Drake University
Iowa State University
Princeton University
Rockhurst University
Seton Hall University
University of Kansas
University of Kansas Medical Center

Wired: Each room has internet and cable TV hookups. Wireless is available in all campus housing and all public buildings on campus. In addition, 249 computers are available to students throughout the campus.

Athletics: Member of the NAIA, Graceland's men and women athletes compete in 19 varsity sports in the Heart of America Conference.

SkillPath: More than 500,000 people annually attend SkillPath and CompuMaster seminars provided by the Graceland Center for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning.

Sponsored by the Community of Christ.

So, where is this little college? The students will tell you it's "in the middle of freakin' nowhere" in Iowa.
It's most definitely not in a big city like UT here in Austin.
It is 1 hour and 28 minutes to Des Moines.
It's 1 hour and 58 minutes to Kansas City.
I'm sure if a student is driving, you can cut at least a half hour off both those times (Wear your seatbelt kids!).

For some kids, the distance from home is a problem.
Frontier Airlines runs a non-stop from Kansas City to Austin. One hour and 50 minutes.
So doing some more simple math, and rounding up:
Two hours from Lamoni to Kansas City, plus 2 Hours in an airplane from Kansas City to Austin, equals 4 hours.

2 hours + 2 hours = 4 hours.

If she's feeling like she wants to spend Thanksgiving with her aunt and uncle in Denver, she can get a non-stop from Kansas City to Denver as well. Exact same time, too. Four hours!
Lastly, if she's feeling like having a blast, but taking more time to get home, she can road trip with friends from Texas. Mapquest has that trip taking 13 hours and 4 minutes. I'm sure the kids cut time off that total (Wear your seatbelts kids!).

The fact that it's in the middle of nowhere is either a draw or a drawback for students considering colleges.
Campus life is friendly and inclusive.
You get to know each other.
You take care of each other.
You entertain each other.
Activities on campus are planned and well attended.
If you have problems in a class, you actually have access to the professors.
Getting "lost in the crowd" is virtually impossible.

For some people, that thought is comforting.
It is for Pearl.
She already knows kids on campus from her years at church camp.
She's planning on attending there for her freshman year, possibly her sophomore year.
Then she wants to transfer to a larger university to finish her degree in Biology.

It's exciting to see yet another bird from my nest be trying her wings.
Luckily, I have another year with her at home.
I am thankful that we can afford her this possibility in life.
Graceland offers so many great opportunities academically, personally and spiritually.

Update: My dearest niece, Sarah, pointed out that I failed to mention distance between Graceland and where she lives.
Also, Sarah is an alum from Graceland's school of Nursing--based in the Kansas City area.
Geez, how did I forget these items?!!

Pearl can get a non-stop from Des Moines to Milwaukee!
Simple math again:
1.5 hours from Lamoni to Des Moines.
1 hour from Des Moines to Milwaukee.

1.5 + 1 = 2.5 hours
Looks like Sarah gets to see Pearl as often as she'd like!
She will just have to bum a ride to Des Moines.


  1. It's really hard (but you seem to do a fine job of it) of letting our children go. When each one of my four children left I felt like a part of me left also. Thankfully they are all back home now the third child is the furthest away (60 minutes) and all the other three live within 1-8 miles from us.

    I applaud you!

    Happy Easter!


  2. Good luck to Pearl. Happy Easter!

  3. Aunt Cee Cee, I am so proud of you for being the mother that you are! You are incredible and your little people (ok so they're all grown up) are proud of you and Uncle E too. How far is Graceland from Milwaukee? I think you forgot that in your equation :) Oh and while I didn't go to the "main" campus, I can vouch that it's a fantastic school since I'm an alum myself. The nursing program was small and fantastic and I made life long friends there. I know it would be a great fit for Pearl. Good luck Pearl, spread your wings and they will take you SO far in life! XOX

  4. I went to college at a school in the middle of nowhere and I cannot imagine it any other way. Right int he middle of a city would be too distracting. My wife and I went to Vanderbilt for grad school and it was right in the middle of Nashville...that would be tough as an undergrad looking for trouble!