Higher Education

Report to the 2017 US National Conference

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton
Director of Higher Education
President of Huntington University

Having completed four years as president of Huntington University, it is my privilege to share that God’s work is being carried out through our students, faculty, staff, and administrators. I am thankful for the privilege of partnering with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and the denomination’s influence on our campus community. We share a great history and look forward to the Lord’s blessings as we continue to strengthen our relationship and explore additional avenues for collaboration.


Senior Leadership

Rev. Arthur Wilson was promoted to the senior leadership team as dean of spiritual life in May 2016. Some of his key responsibilities include community worship and teaching, student spiritual development, pastoral care, leading campus ministries, and outreach opportunities.


Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies

The last two years have been very exciting as we have launched the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies. Dr. Raymond “Raymie” Porter, with background in plant breeding research, is the director of the institute.

This spring we conducted a search for the second fulltime faculty member in agriculture and hired Dr. Jessica Baggerman in the area of animal science. Many of our students have indicated an interest in animal science, so we are pleased to have made this second critical addition to our program. Dr. Baggerman just completed her Ph.D. in animal science from Texas Tech University.

This academic year, we also started a new major in agricultural education. We are now only the second institution in Indiana to offer this high-need academic program.

The agricultural sector in the region has enthusiastically embraced our new program, and Huntington University has received widespread support for this initiative. One especially exciting development is the donation of over $500,000 for construction of the new 3,000 square-foot Ware Plant Science Production facility. This greenhouse complex will provide key resources for plant teaching and research for the agriculture and biology programs.

It is an honor to offer one of the few Christian programs in agriculture in the nation, where students can receive excellent academic training and also explore the intersection of faith and agriculture. Indeed, one of the tracks within the agribusiness degree program is agricultural missions.

Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program
In May 2017, Huntington University graduated its first cohort of doctoral students. Thirty-two students graduated with the occupational therapy doctoral degree. We are very proud of this outstanding program, which has just finished its third year. Applications for this high-demand program continue to significantly exceed our program capacity. Individual faculty and the program as a whole continue to receive national awards and recognition.

MBA Program Launched
Huntington University started a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program this spring. This program builds on the strengths of our undergraduate program and provides HU graduates and other students the opportunity to continue their business education in the context of our exceptional project-based educational approach. The program includes an expenses-covered educational trip to Europe.

3-Year Degree Programs
During the fall of 2017, Huntington University will start offering 3-Year degree options in select high-demand fields. This represents an opportunity for students who are willing to take on an accelerated pace to finish their undergraduate degree in three years, realize significant financial savings, and enter the workforce one year early.

Programs include: accounting, biblical studies, Christian ministries, communication studies, criminal justice, economics and finance, English literature, English writing, entrepreneurial small business management, journalism, management, marketing, philosophy, psychology, public relations, sociology, sport management, and theological and religious studies. See huntington.edu/3-year-degrees.

Arizona Center for Digital Media Arts
After several years of planning, Huntington University established its Arizona Center for Digital Media Arts in Peoria, Ariz., during the fall of 2016. We initiated a focused academic program building on our strengths in the digital media arts, offering majors in animation, broadcast media, film production, and graphic design. This new location is in a stunningly beautiful facility and is already producing amazing student outcomes. Examples include “The Amazing Mortimer” short film and the “Prayer of Saint Francis” devotional short films.

Our Arizona “crew” consists of Jeff Berggren, director of Arizona operations; Professor Phil Wilson, digital media arts program director; Jamie Sanfilippo, coordinator of student services; and Eric Luce, Arizona learning technology manager. We are in the process of hiring another staff member to focus on student recruitment and a second fulltime faculty member in broadcast media. See huntington.edu/peoria.

National Awards

  • Huntington University’s Arizona Center for Digital Media Arts first short film, “The Amazing Mortimer,” won the Best of Fest award at the 2017 Southern Arizona Independent Film Festival. The film also won the Best Story and Best Advanced Student Film categories.
  • Dr. Nathan Short, assistant professor of occupational therapy, received the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) International Service Award at the 100th AOTA National Conference in Philadelphia, Pa. The award recognizes occupational therapy practitioners who have made a global impact through service and global advancement of the profession.
  • Three sophomores in the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies—Abigail Atkins, Makayla Mobley, and Megan Schroeder—received the 2016 American FFA Degree from the National FFA Organization. Madison Riley, also a sophomore agriculture major, was selected by the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) as one of its Campus Ambassadors for 2017-2018.
  • Jeniece Regan, a junior biology pre-med major, and Isaiah Gerber, a senior psychology and sociology major, won regional scholarships at the Alpha Chi National Convention in Louisville, Kent. Huntington University’s chapter received recognition at the convention as a Star Chapter of Alpha Chi for 2016-2017, being one of only four out of the more than 300 Alpha Chi chapters to have received this award every year since the honor was launched in 1996.
  • The Intercollegiate National Religious Broadcasters organization (iNRB) recognized six Huntington University students with awards for outstanding examples of radio, TV, and film production.


  • Huntington University’s doctoral program in occupational therapy (OTD) was ranked as the 2016 Top Occupational Therapy School according to GraduatePrograms.com.
  • Huntington University was named one of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2016 by Forbes.
  • Huntington University was ranked #37 in the National Universities – Bachelors category of the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings.
  • Huntington University’s online programs were ranked #3 in the state of Indiana for 2016-2017 by AffordableCollegesOnline.com.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Huntington University as No. 13 Best Regional College (Midwest) in the “Best Colleges 2017” guidebook.
  • Christian Universities Online ranked Huntington University the 13th Best Value out of the top 50 Christian colleges and universities in the United States for 2017.
  • Huntington University was ranked #16 on Christian Universities Online’s 25 Most Beautiful Colleges and Universities in the Midwest for 2017.


Enrollment Initiatives
In the fall of 2016, HU had a record enrollment of 1300, fueled by continued growth in the occupational therapy doctorate program and the launch of our site in Peoria, Ariz. In the fall of 2017, the MBA program provides a new offering for graduates. At the undergraduate level, we will have our first students enrolled in our new occupational therapy assistant program, which could provide students for the doctoral program.

We continue to serve the church with our ministry programs. The launch of the Veritas Institute allows high school students to confirm and begin preparing for their call to ministry. The graduate ministry programs are online to allow pastors to continue to serve their home churches while they expand their education. Undergraduate students enrolling at the Huntington campus are eligible for a UB Grant to help reduce their out-of-pocket expenses.

United Brethren Connections
Huntington University awarded $732,834 in institutional aid to United Brethren students in the 2016-2017 academic year. In addition, HU continues to partner with United Brethren churches through the Church Matching Grant Program. Huntington University matched $43,758 in church support for UB students through this program during the past school year. There were 59 UB students enrolled, including eight freshmen.

In February 2017, Huntington University sponsored and sent representatives to Winter Slam, an annual event for UB students and youth workers. Roger Vezeau (HU ’84) was the speaker for the event and Brad Mowery (HU ’97) was the emcee for the weekend. Katie Martin (HU ’12), admissions counselor, along with one alumni and two HU students, attended Winter Slam.

Dr. Emberton, Huntington University president, served as a conference speaker for the Youth Summit in Daytona Beach. In addition, she addressed the UB Women’s Conference as a workshop speaker at the 2016 meeting in Lancaster, Pa.

Two additional UB pastors have joined the HU Board of Trustees: Dr. Jody Bowser of King Street Church (Chambersburg, Pa.) and Rev. Dennis Miller of Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.).


For academic year 2016-2017, Huntington University experienced a 13% increase in the number of donors, and overall giving reached an eight-year high at $5,553,983. This total included $1.1 million in estate gifts, and a 20% increase in alumni giving. We rejoice in the faithfulness and generosity of God’s people to help fund our mission.

As of May 31, 2017, year-to-date giving from the United Brethren Church totaled $128,343, which is consistent with church giving over the last four years. Huntington University is grateful for the continued financial support of our denomination.

Student Life

Daryl Singleton was hired as HU’s first director of multicultural affairs minority student engagement in August 2016. In the spring of 2017, our multicultural house was opened across the street from the Hardy Hall parking lot.
During the summer of 2015, Habecker Dining Commons underwent a $1 million renovation. This project included new action stations where entrées can be made fresh while students wait. A new brick pizza oven was added along with many cosmetic changes to both the upper and lower levels.


Over the last three years:

  • 7 HU teams participated in an NAIA national tournament.
  • 21 HU student-athletes participated as individuals in an NAIA National Tournament.
  • 6 HU student-athletes (12 total awards) earned NAIA All-American accolades.
  • 100 NAIA Scholar Athlete accolades were awarded to HU student-athletes (must be a junior or senior with a cumulative GPA of 3.5).
  • On average, 86 HU student-athletes have been named to the HU athletic honor roll (must have a GPA of 3.5 for the year).
  • Of the 15 HU teams eligible to receive NAIA Scholar Team honors, 14 teams on average have earned this honor (must have a team GPA of 3.0 on the year).

Campus Ministries

During spring break of 2017, a total of 21 students and three adult sponsors went on two mission trips to Arizona and Guatemala.

In Arizona, the team of eight served at the American Indian Christian Mission and Blue Bus Ministry. They worked on construction projects, offered help in the kitchen, taught Bible and gym classes, and built relationships with the area youth.

In Guatemala, a team of 16 also built relationships with youth, worked on various painting projects at the orphanage, visited with the elderly in a retirement community, and painted a home of a local native.

Strategic Initiatives

In 2015, Forest Glen Park received a $900,000 renovation, which included the construction of a two-story building behind home plate to house a press box, restrooms, and concessions area. The bleachers were upgraded and stadium seats added behind home plate and parts of the first and third base seating areas.

The new Welcome Center was officially opened in the fall of 2017. The university’s admissions office is located in the 3,000 square-foot addition, which is a part of the Merillat Centre for the Arts. A $500,000 lead donation for the project was given by a generous trustee.

Huntington University made a $3 million investment in an energy initiative with improvement in lighting, heating, and air conditioning. Of particular importance was providing heating and cooling to classrooms in Becker Hall, which had no reliable heating or cooling sources prior to these improvements.

HU made significant improvements to its campus fleet, including two 15-passenger busses and three maintenance vehicles. Heretofore, the newest maintenance vehicle was a 1999 Ford truck.

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