Year in review: keys to growth for Buena Vista University


This composite photo shows some of the 2021 highlights experienced at Buena Vista University, from the inauguration of President Brian Lenzmeier to artist-in-residence Andre D. Wagner, to three open-air launch ceremonies in May . Other big developments during the year included the opening of Jane’s Closet at Swope Hall, a Simon Estes concert, a crowded homecoming celebration, and a ribbon cutting at the foundry in downtown Storm Lake.

Enrollment growth for the third year in a row highlighted developments at Buena Vista University in 2021. Enrollment at BVU’s Storm Lake campus rose to 777 students, an increase of 6%. Total enrollment, including undergraduates, graduate students, and students taking online courses, stood at 1,959 students, an 8% increase from 2018.

Several initiatives and programming efforts at BVU have made headlines over the past year, all of which have had an impact on BVU students and the community.

Buena Vista University celebrated the inauguration of President Brian Lenzmeier in October. The 19th President of BVU was joined on stage in the Schaller Memorial Chapel by his wife, Betsy, and their two sons, Owen and Matt.

“I want to mention how humiliating it is to stand here right now,” Lenzmeier said. “I love BVU. I like the people I work with. I love to see what our students do while they are with us, and what they accomplish after graduation. More than anything, I want to see BVU and its stakeholders thrive. “

Five days after the inauguration ceremony, nationally renowned photographer Andre D. Wagner, who graduated from BVU in 2010, joined approximately 150 students, faculty, staff and friends to inaugurate “Andre D. Wagner: Reflections in Storm Lake ”at the BVU Art Galerie. Wagner’s work in September and October was featured in an exhibition that crowned his month-long stay as BVU Artist in Residence.

For the first time in years, the tailgating area east of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium reached full vehicle capacity hours before BVU Homecoming kicked off. Several hundred fans enjoyed the sunny scene and a great result at Peterson Field as the Beavers beat Nebraska-Wesleyan, 50-7, on a perfect October day at the lakefront.

Weather at the same site showed its contrast in styles on Mother’s Day weekend as BVU held three open-air launch ceremonies in a bid to observe COVID-19 safety protocols. A freezing southeasterly wind blew from the lake for the Promotion 2021 ceremony on Saturday. Sunny skies and temperatures in the ’60s greeted the graduates and their families as BVU celebrated a pair of debut ceremonies the next day, one for those graduating with master’s degrees (2020 and 2021) and another for promotion. 2020, the official start of which had been postponed 12 months before.

Governor Kim Reynolds joined a host of leaders from Storm Lake and the region to officially open The Foundry in downtown Storm Lake in June. The business incubator also serves as a collaborative workspace for start-ups, a central tenet of the Donald F. and Charlene K. Lamberti Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

An anonymous donation of $ 830,000 from a benefactor was announced in October, as Vice President of Enrollment Management Kevin McIntyre explained how the donation would be used to help 320 economically disadvantaged students in the Midwest reduce their collegiate debt.

Two hundred and eighty benefactors presented gifts totaling over $ 54,000 as part of the University’s most successful effort on November 30, International Giving Tuesday, a day in which nonprofits around the world celebrate philanthropy.

An estimated 700 people attended the Schaller Memorial Chapel for Simon Estes’ appearance in Buena Vista County and his “Roots & Wings” tour on November 21st. Estes, the legendary bass baritone from Iowa, performed with the BVU Concert Choir as well as students of the choir. from the following high schools in BV County: Storm Lake High School, St. Mary’s, Alta-Aurelia and Newell-Fonda. Estes, a world-class philanthropist, joined BVU to present scholarships to four local high school students.

Dozens of BVU students majoring in education and / or social work served as educators for more than 500 students who participated in a summer program overseen by the Storm Lake Community School District. A benefactor gift allowed students to reside on campus for free while serving the community by helping students fill educational and social gaps caused by school closures linked to COVID-19.

Members of BVU’s Student Association of Social Workers opened Jane’s Closet, a Swope Hall site providing free clothing and materials to host families in the area. The site is named after Jane Addams, a pioneer of social reform who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Addams was the sister-in-law of the late BVU President John M. Linn, who served the BVU from 1892 to 1894.

BVU’s Lehnus Campus Spirit Store opened on the site of the former Siebens Forum bookstore. The store did business throughout the fall semester, peaking in reunion activity when thousands of people were on campus celebrating sporting events, a Hall of Fame induction BVU athletics, a Cornerstone Guard ceremony, a fall touring day for prospective students and more.

The new Beaver branded items have proven to be a hit with the BVU community at the Spirit Store. New navy blue and gold looks have been incorporated into the areas of BVU Athletics, which have received artwork updates, decals, paint and more.

Citing the revival of Lake Creek Amateur, an increase in participation in junior golf, and more, the Buena Vista University Golf Course at Lake Creek was selected as the best 18-hole golf course in Iowa for 2021 by the Iowa Golf Association in November.

Along the way, other areas and initiatives have seen success in 2021. Health services, which have remained extremely busy throughout the pandemic, moved from the lower level of Siebens Fieldhouse to a wellness center. self-contained, including consulting services, on the second floor of Dixon -Eilers Hall, a location with more space and privacy for students, faculty and staff seeking service.

Cooper, BVU’s service dog in training, began to offer his therapeutic touch to students, faculty and staff. Beaver’s senior defensive back Derien “Deebo” Beauregard appeared in a segment televised by Keith Murphy of WHO-TV, who took to Twitter to claim “Deebo” as his favorite college football player of the season.

School of Science Dean Dr Thom Bonagura presented cattle at the Buena Vista County Fair as BVU and the Institute for Agriculture hosted the Open Livestock Show for the second year in a row.

Speaking of fairs … thousands of students, faculty, staff and alumni visited BVU’s popular booth at the Iowa State Fair and put their signatures and best wishes for their alma mater on a new alumni wall.


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