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Bell Rings True at SHU

Religious Studies Professor Earns the Respect of His Peers and Students as the 2012 Rice Award Winner

By Austin Harper ’13—Student Writer

Dr. Ian Bell is more to his students than a professor. He is a confidant, a role model, a leader, a mentor and a friend.

As the 2012 winner of the Sister Eileen Rice Award for Outstanding Teaching, the chair of the Humanities Division and associate professor of Religious Studies was recognized for his exceptional teaching methods and his incomparable commitment to his students.

All those above-mentioned attributes make him one of the most beloved faculty members at SHU.

The Sister Eileen Rice Award is presented to the professor who receives the most votes from students. Recommendations from faculty members are also taken into consideration, and then a committee, which includes the prior award recipients, decides who is most deserving of the award. In the three previous years, winners of the award were Joe Raab, Jeffrey Lindstrom and Nick Kaplan.

Bell’s initial plan was to become a mechanical engineer, not a college professor. The Wisconsin native began his studies at Michigan Tech University, but during his first year he started to reconsider that choice.

“My atheist friends questioned how I could be a Christian,” Bell said. “I started struggling with the doctrines of the incarnation and Trinity. I began focusing on faith rather than calculus, which resulted in academic problems.”

He transferred to the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn., where he received a degree in youth ministry. He spent a year-and-a-half teaching in a parish in Minnesota as a youth minister but chose to continue his scholarly career. At the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., he received his master’s degree. He later received his PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis in systematic theology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

In 2003, began his teaching career at Marquette as a graduate student. In 2007, he was hired at SHU, where he is in his sixth year. Bell also heads the annual Chiodini/Fontana Lecture Series on Ethics at Siena Heights, and has influenced curriculum development in religious studies and has continued to produce scholarly publications.

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Banding Together

Wes King Hired to Begin Band Program at Siena Heights

Wes King
Wes King

In June Siena Heights University hired Wes King to be its first director of Bands.

King, a native of Memphis, Tenn., recently graduated from the University of Arkansas, where he earned his Master of Music Degree in Instrumental Conducting. During his time at Arkansas, he served as a graduate teaching assistant, assisting and conducting the Razorback Marching Band, Hogwild Pep Band, concert bands, jazz ensemble and concert choir.

King also attended Mississippi State University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He was a member of the wind ensemble, marching band, pep bands, jazz band, chamber ensembles and performed with the Starkville-MSU Symphony. He was also a founding member of a MSU student organization that participated in many volunteer music programs promoting diversity in the community and surrounding schools.

King previously served as the band director at Taylorsville (Tenn.) High School, and also has worked with the marching program at the Southern Baptist Educational Center in Southaven, Miss.

SHU approved a marching band program in 2011, and this fall the band debuted during the Saints’ first home football game Aug. 25. King directs the marching bands as well as organizes the concert bands as a music faculty member at Siena Heights.

King said he is actively recruiting new band members. He hosted a Band Day for prospective high school students on Oct. 13 during the home football game against St. Xavier (Ill.).

“Scholarships are available for every member of the marching band,” King said. “Students who play brass, woodwind, piano and percussion instruments are encouraged to audition, as well as students with color guard, dance or majorette experience.”

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Biology Students Earn National Research Awards

Biology Students Earn National Research Awards

By Doug Goodnough

National championships are usually associated with athletic competition, but Siena Heights University recently had a national champion in the classroom.

Recent Siena Heights University graduates Lauren Coe and Jared Pirkle each won national biology awards for their presentations at the national Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society research conference in May in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Coe, a native of Perrysburg, Ohio, earned the first place Frank Brooks Award in ecology for her presentation on the effects of leaf color on the landing choice, egg-laying preference and larval growth of the cabbage white butterfly.

“I was hoping I would be able to place in nationals,” Coe said of the honor. “I was not feeling well. I was calm and relaxed and I guess that helped. We were really surprised I came in first. It was just a bonus.”

Coe is only the second Siena Heights student to earn a first place at the national biology conference. Billy Houghteling also received the honor in 1996.

“Why female butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on certain plants, but not others, has puzzled biologists for over a century,” said SHU Professor of Biology Dr. Jun Tsuji, who guided and supervised Coe’s research.

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