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The last four years

Highlights from seniors’ Taylor careers

By Jeff Grogan | Echo

Memorable events around campus

 Breuninger Hall opened (2013)

Breuninger Hall is the newest dorm on campus and houses 150 males and females, according to Taylor’s website. Junior Mark Allsman said he appreciates the mix of students within it’s three floors: “We don’t have a stereotype because we are so diverse in our interests.”

First year of the new foundations course (Fall 2013)

Prior to 2013, professor of psychology Mark Cosgrove single-handedly indoctrinated incoming students in his foundations of Christian thought class. “I enjoyed teaching the foundations of Christian thought class for 30 years,” Cosgrove said. “I left the class because I wanted to begin some specialty classes like ‘neuroscience and the soul’ and ‘introduction to psychology using literature and film.’

Last year of Sex and the Cornfields (October 7–9, 2013)

Residence Life staff changed the name of the programming emphasis on Christian faith and sexuality on sexuality from “Sex and the Cornfields” to “Sexuality and the Body” in 2014. “While (the) name was catchy and fun, it wasn’t communicating the ethos and hopes of the week-long program well,” Sara Hightower, director of residence life programs, said. According to Hightower, the program was created about 15 years ago and originally named “Sex and the Village” to parody the TV show “Sex and the City.”

Last Reject Show (March 2015)

Performers who didn’t make it into MyGen or Nostalgia Night lineups had one last chance to take the stage during this Youth Conference fundraising event.

Last Hoedown (Welcome weekend 2014)

Many seniors’ first Welcome Weekend memory is patterned with flannel, hay bales and Stetsons thanks to the annual Hoedown, last held in 2014 (photo provided by Ellen Hershberger).

Many seniors’ first Welcome Weekend memory is patterned with flannel, hay bales and Stetsons. In 2013 and 2014, campus gathered in the Odle Arena parking lot for a campus-wide line dance, complete with a professional square dance caller. TSO moved the event to Taylor Lake in 2015 and rechristened it the Aloha dance.

Jon Cavanagh’s first year (2015–16 school year)

After saying goodbye to former Campus Pastor Randy Gruendyke, Taylor welcomed Jon Cavanagh to Upland. According to a September 2015 Echo article, Cavanagh said he desires to diversify both the worship style and types of speakers who come to campus during his time at Taylor.

Chapel in Odle (Fall 2015)

Students perched on Odle Arena’s bleachers while maintenance crews tore out and replaced the seats in Rediger Chapel. Speakers who paced the gymnasium floor included Shonda Gladden and Gary Witherall.

Campus Center built, Student Union closed (Chapel opened Jan. 3, 2016, dining opened March 29.)

The LaRita Boren Campus Center was the final building project former President Eugene Habecker oversaw during his time at Taylor. Since opening, it has hosted numerous movie nights, concerts and dances and served as a conference center during the National Student Leadership Conference. The versatility of the new space meant there was no need for the old Student Union, and rumors still circulate about the defunct campus hub’s uncertain future.

University Program Review (Results announced Feb. 23, 2016)

A two-year comprehensive review of Taylor’s departments, majors and faculty resulted in the Program Review. The report sparked dozens of changes, from fusing three departments together to releasing 17.5 faculty and staff member positions.

Taylor presidential transition (Spring–Fall 2016)

Former President and first lady of Taylor, Eugene and Marylou Habecker, passed the towel of servant leadership to Lowell and Sherry Haines at the end of this graduating class’s junior year.

Cindy McWhirt passed away (October 31, 2016)

Taylor lost a valuable member of its community last fall. The senior class enjoyed the three years Cindy served the campus dining community and will never forget her lesson to Fully Rely On God.

Olson twins die (birth: 2011 death: Spring 2017)

Faithfully spinning for over half a decade, Taylor’s two windmills may have hit the brakes for good. Investigations into the turbine’s energy efficiency, safety concerns and rust-colored stains have kept the twin turbines in the spotlight since they were built in 2011.

Taylor Taxis (Launched fall 2015, re-structured winter 2016)

The Taylor Taxi saga spanned two years and affected nearly every bike-riding student. After the bikes were initially launched in fall 2015, it took a full academic year to mangle a majority of the fleet and cause the Taylor Bike Kitchen to rethink its leave one, take one strategy for spring 2017.

Lobby doors locked 24/7 (2016–17 school year)

Forgetting your ID in the dorm became even more inconvenient this year when Campus Police and Residence Life staff enforced 24/7 locks on all campus residential buildings to increase dorm security and prevent crimes of convenience.


Personal firsts, lasts and everything in between

First Love’s run

The iconic truck stop and fast-food oasis off I-69 sees frequent Taylor visitors, especially during late-night hours when Upland sleeps in small-town bliss. Whether celebrating the end of finals or running away from responsibilities, students come for the dollar menu but stay for the conversations.

First day in the dorm

Then-junior Chad Edmundson (’15) hauls boxes for incoming freshman during Welcome Weekend 2013 (photo provided by Ellen Hershberger).

For those of us in non-air conditioned residence halls, move-in day was a hot, awkward mess.

Foot washing

A tender tradition performed either on campus or during a weekend retreat, the foot washing ceremony led by upperclassmen on each wing or floor formed seniors’ first impressions of the Taylor community.

Jay Kesler chapels

Our beloved President Emeritus Jay Kesler has spoken a dozen times on the chapel stage since 2013. His wisdom, love for Taylor and tweetable one-liners make his speeches a valuable memory from the chapel program during the last four years.

IFC concerts (Summer Heart, Son Lux, S. Carey, Jenny and Tyler, Lucius, William Tyler, Gallant, Helado Negro)

Ryan Lott, the composer behind Son Lux, performed two unreleased songs at his Taylor concert in 2015, according to IFC member Paul Jacobsen (photo provided by Ellen Hershberger).

During the last four years, Taylor has hosted acclaimed performers like Son Lux, Lucius, and Gallant thanks to hardworking members of the Integration of Faith and Culture (IFC) cabinet. “It’s really hard for me to put into words how much fun I have had planning and attending IFC concerts,” senior and 3-year IFC member Paul Jacobson said. “They’re important because they expose us . . . to views and music that aren’t from a Christian perspective, which is something that we don’t often get on our Christian campus.”

Dances (Masquerade, Halloween, Semi-formal, Luau, Willy Wonka)

Since Taylor’s first sanctioned dance, TSO created the Dances and Special Events Committee to coordinate what’s become an integral part of Taylor student life, thanks in part to our dance-crazy seniors.

Last day of undergraduate career

Seniors will say tearful goodbyes outside the Fieldhouse next Saturday, clutching symbols of the time they chose to invest in this school. Whether the years flew by or dragged on, the last four years have changed every one of them in unique and life-altering ways.

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