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July 19, 2018
Life At Witt

Miles With Mike

Wittenberg’s 15th President Completes More Than 24,000-Mile Alumni Tour

Against the backdrop of beautiful Boulder, Colorado, Wittenberg University’s 15th President Michael L. Frandsen officially concluded his 10-month-long alumni engagement tour, aptly titled “Miles With Mike,” on July 19. President Frandsen, with spouse Sharon for most of the stops, traveled a total of 24,347 miles in less than a year, learning from Wittenberg alumni who graduated as far back as 1947 to the present about the life-changing role the university has played in their lives. 

“Sharon and I are most thankful for the extraordinary welcome we received from Wittenberg alumni on the road during my inaugural year as president,” President Frandsen said. “Hearing their stories, discovering where their Wittenberg education has taken them, and seeing Wittenberg’s mission in action in their own lives and communities reaffirmed the power of this university to help students find their passion and purpose. We will forever be grateful for this opportunity.”

The Miles With Mike Tour included 31 stops in cities and towns across the country beginning with Indianapolis, Ind., on Sept. 27, 2017. Wittenberg's Alumni Board was also represented at 28 of the 31 stops with Vikki Hooper '78, past Alumni Board president, helping to coordinate the attendance. 

At each event, alumni present also received a commemorative, concert-inspired T-shirt, featuring the stops and the number of miles to each location from the university’s hometown of Springfield on the back. Alumni also received a presidential update on the university with an accompanying time for questions. 

“Sharon and I are most thankful for the extraordinary welcome we received from Wittenberg alumni on the road during my inaugural year as president. Hearing their stories, discovering where their Wittenberg education has taken them, and seeing Wittenberg’s mission in action in their own lives and communities reaffirmed the power of this university to help students find their passion and purpose. We will forever be grateful for this opportunity.”
President Michael L. Frandsen

“Wittenberg has always offered a personalized education, and the Miles With Mike tour is an extension of this, providing our alumni the chance to talk with our president, and allowing Mike and Sharon to learn from our alumni about the history, traditions, and special moments that defined their time at Wittenberg,” said Holly Gersbacher, director of alumni and lifelong engagement, and a 2003 graduate.

Highlights from the tour included alumni sharing how they met and married, which professors or activities inspired their life trajectories, and how the liberal arts foundation at Wittenberg opened doors they never realized were possible. A connection made at the Houston event even led to a job for one of Wittenberg’s May 2018 graduates. Additionally, the Boston event reunited a senior RA (resident advisor) and a then first-year student who had not seen each other since 1971. In Sarasota, the event included a performance by the Wittenberg Choir, and in San Francisco, President Frandsen and Sharon had the chance to meet Tom Stauffer, son of Wittenberg’s 9th president, who has now met every Wittenberg president from the 7th to the 15th over a span of more than 70 years.

“We were delighted to listen to their stories, which affirmed the foundation of excellence upon which Wittenberg was built back in 1845,” President Frandsen said. 

During each event, President Frandsen also encouraged those present to stay engaged with their alma mater and to return to campus as often as possible to hear current student stories, see firsthand the exciting projects underway, including the restoration and expansion of Wittenberg’s health, wellness and athletics facility, and reflect on the relationships they established during their college days, many of which continue today.

“Wittenberg has always been about relationships – in the classroom, in the residence halls, in athletics, and across all areas and activities,” President Frandsen said. “It’s is through this integrated experience with relationships at the core that Wittenberg has educated the mind to know and the heart to care for generations. I am honored to lead and serve at this time in Wittenberg’s history, and I look forward to ongoing partnering with our alumni in the years ahead to advance our shared future.” 

To learn more about the special tour, visit www.wittenberg.edu/mileswithmike or click here.

-Office of University Communications

Karen Gerboth
Karen Gerboth
Vice President of Marketing & Communications

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About Wittenberg

A nationally ranked university for the liberal arts and sciences affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Wittenberg University has repeatedly been ranked throughout the years by the Princeton Review for the quality of its teaching and faculty, including 11th in the nation for "Best Classroom Experience" and 15th in the category "Professors Get High Marks" in the 2011 edition of Princeton's annual Best Colleges guide. Most recently, Wittenberg earned the No. 4 spot in the category of "Most Accessible Professors." Wittenberg appeared in the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges in 2013 and again in 2015. Additionally, Wittenberg currently has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any other four-year institution in the state, and has been recognized nationally for excellence in service and athletics.

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