Essay Contest Submissions

In response to this prompt: Explain what your Malone experience has meant to you. Be creative. Be heartfelt. Share how Malone has helped shape you into the person you are today.


I remember exactly what it looked like: my first dorm room in Fox Hall. Three doors from the stairwell overlooking the Quad. The oddly shaped desks faced each other by the window, the radiator making us keep it cracked all winter long. I remember the lounge down the hall and the viewing parties of Seinfeld long before viewing parties existed. The scent of stale microwave popcorn and Ramen Noodles lingered in the hallway for a good twenty-four hours – the dorm food of choice. We shared showers with the entire floor, toting our toiletries back and forth from our rooms, scalding other girls in the shower by flushing the toilet, or dumping buckets of cold water on someone to return a prank. My roommate Jana and I had never met prior to attending Malone. I was not only nervous about living with someone I didn’t know but being in a place where I knew no one. This was my chance to be who I wanted to be. To leave behind my small, southwestern Ohio high school and go somewhere no one else from home had ever been. It was terrifying and exhilarating. Terribly homesick during my first semester, I cried often and called home a lot. Bless my mother, she made me stick it out. I am more than thankful.

I remember learning that Malone was built on the highest point in Stark County and learning why that was dreadful in the dead of winter while walking to class. Classes where I grounded my faith in Jesus and learned who I am. I walked to Founders Hall (then the Main building) for New Testament and Old Testament classes with Dr. John Geib and Dr. Collins. I learned Russian History from Dr. Hess and Communications from Ms. Martha Rodak. I trooped to the Cattell Library for Dr. Thomas’ Art History course and to some sort of trailer-like building for Psychology with Dr. John Koshmider. Timken housed almost every other course on my schedule with a few on the top floor of Osborne. These courses constantly challenged me to be a better, stronger student and learner. They gave me the courage to apply for a mentoring position. I am proud to say I participated in the first ever freshman mentoring program that Marcia Everett has well established since. Having the privilege of being a co-teacher with Dean of Students Bob Crow, I began my official journey as a teacher. I learned so much from him, and it solidified my calling.

I remember my first essay grade from Dr. Robert Lair’s Freshman Composition course: a D. I promptly crumbled into tears, ran out of the class as fast as I could, and catastrophized about how teaching English would never actually be my vocation. But slowly, through the care of roommates, friends on my floor, and compassionate faculty, I continued to grow in a calling God gave me. I must have taken at least eight courses with Mr. Dale King who revived my dream of being an effective English teacher. He gave crazy-hard exams in Expository Writing and World Literature over Dante’s Inferno. Passing with a good grade was a victory to be savored. Since there was a small group of English majors during my years at Malone, Dale King along with his wife Carlene, nurtured us for more than our four years. He invited us over, cooked dinner for us more than once, and personally mentored us.

I also remember graduation at First Christian Church (now the Johnson Center Worship Center). Four years of diligence to earn my B.A. in English with a Secondary Education license. I distinctly remember standing in line donned in our robes awaiting the cue to enter the sanctuary. Before entering, the faculty came through congratulating us with hugs and handshakes – they were still encouraging us, supporting us into our future. And now I was nervous and excited all over again. How would I face my day-to-day life without this community they had carefully built around me? New life stood on the horizon. Goals and dreams beckoned. I had no idea how it would unfold. But God had used each experience at Malone to create in me this person who wanted to impact my world for Jesus.

As I remember, sitting here in my classroom after 27 years of teaching, I have never been more grateful to God for the education given me by the Malone community.


Malone was an amazing place for me to learn about who I was and what God's purpose was for me in my life. Starting college was a major adjustment. College was originally my parents' idea. I had no real idea what I wanted to do with my life. I started in a "safe option" major in which I could support myself and go anywhere. Two years later after tough experiences and failed classes I knew I had to make some career choice adjustments. I had no ideas as to what to do with my life. To top it off, my then fifty-something dad lost his job and my high school sweetheart and I split after several years. Yet, God is good. My parents made it clear that I was to finish college with something, a "you have to figure it out" degree. I felt like I was letting everyone down but with love and support from Malone's faculty, friends, residential life staff, and counselors I ended up selecting a major that I enjoyed. 

I learned through my time at Malone that God cared so much more about me than I could have ever imagined and His love is not conditioned to a major, job title, or significant other. The identity we often give ourselves is not where God finds our value. I learned that it's not about what you do. It's why and how you do it. I found that when I leaned into God, He would guide me and create a way for me that I could not have dreamed. With my major change I added a victory lap year at Malone, but I was privileged to have dove into the Malone community. I served on the residential life team, traveled with my choir, went backpacking, and even completed part of my student teaching abroad. I am forever thankful for my Malone family.

Glenn Goodman '78

Malone College (it was not a University when I attended) had the most important impact on my life of 66 years. This is no small statement considering I had great parents and a great childhood, I was a star basketball player in middle school, I attended 5 different universities, I got married, accepted Jesus and was baptized, had three children by birth and a semi-adopted daughter for 5 years, earned a Ph.D. in education, taught for 35 years at Cleveland State University and experienced great success as an occupational therapist and professor.

Why were my 4 years at Malone the most important times of my life?

1. My mother worked at Malone and I was blessed with scholarships, the opportunity to stay on campus even though I could have commuted, and still be close to home as my father died when I was 17. Getting to spend quality time with my mom (OK, Herb Hallman was nice enough to let me visit her often at work) while getting the full on-campus experience was icing on my cake. And I made money while attending a private college (something I am sure most students today would be thrilled to achieve) due to social security, employee tuition discounts, and scholarships (and some hard work in summers and during the school year that prepared me well for life after college).

2. I met my wife (Susan Pierce) at Malone. We fell in love during the December term experience with Dr. Stuckey in Guatemala. Dr. and Mrs. Stuckey's display of what an excellent marriage could look like was a huge influence on me when we got to spend 24/7 time with them on that trip. We are still together 43 years later.

3. My college roommate Jeff Campbell remains a good friend 45 years after graduation. I was best man at his wedding, and he was a groomsman for my wedding. We have been golfing and boating together for about 10 years now even though he lives in a foreign country called Pittsburgh. The nicknames we were given at Malone stuck with us for the rest of our lives. He was Flipper and I was Benny!

4. Dr. Dymale, Dr. Penner, Dr. Busby, Dr. Collins, Dr. Walker, Dr. Stuckey, Mrs. Dymale, Jack Hazen, and Dr. Barrett. These men and women made a difference in my life by their dedication to teaching, their Christian example, their personal interest in me, and the quality of the courses they taught. Dr. Walker one day took me aside and told me my presentation in his class was superior and I should consider a career as a professor. That bug he planted in my ear and the encouragement he provided shaped my life in a way that makes me cry when I think about it. I owe a large part of my successful career to that man!

5. The stories I could tell my friends and children about college life at Malone are amazing. The twerp weekends changed my life. (My wife asked me out, and I don’t think we would have dated had she not been brave enough to do that- I was afraid of women at 21 years old - and still am a little bit at 66). The December terms -I also went skiing with Jack Hazen and the cross country team in Colorado - 3 weeks of skiing for $300 and tuition. What stories I could tell about Jack calling me and Peterson boneheads for going down the black diamond hills on our first day. The dorm life with Jack Derhammer putting his used car oil on our black toilet seats every time his car needed an oil change. The intramurals where one of the varsity basketball players living in Gurney coached our team to victory by telling us to play zone for the last 4 minutes of a game. The opportunity to serve as a senator for my junior year taught me a lot about college politics. That served me well as a professor at a large public university. Finally, the long term friendships we experienced with several other students have blessed me richly. We have reunions, attend Malone Homecoming, meet at Hartville Kitchen, go boating together, and during the pandemic did several activities on Zoom! Those friendships are attributed to the community that we experienced at Malone, the environment that fostered development of those friendships, and just the memories we talk about that I am sure for many of us were the best times of our lives.


Transformation. Growth. Leadership. Identity. Faith. Foundation. Community. Boldness. Family.
These are just some of the words that come to my mind when I think about my time at Malone. When I graduated from high school and went to Malone, I struggled with knowing who I was. Starting over with friends, activities, and school work was a challenge for me. But I quickly realized that I was finding who I was in the wrong things. Malone helped me to realize that my identity is not found in what I do, but in who Jesus is. This changed my entire outlook on life and helped to take a lot of pressure off of myself, knowing that I couldn’t be loved any more or less by God based off of my successes and failures. I am forever thankful to my Malone community for helping me learn this transformative lesson.
Another huge takeaway from my time at Malone was stepping outside of my comfort zone. I was presented with many opportunities to do this, and am so glad that I was surrounded by a safe community to help me be able to do so. I was able to go on two service learning trips, to France and Thailand, which was a huge leap for me, considering I had never even flown before. These trips helped me to see how much more is out there in this world, and how important it is to learn about other cultures. I often talk about these trips with other people and love to be able to share about what I learned.
My favorite part of being at Malone, though, was the community. I had the privilege of being a resident assistant for three years at Malone, which helped me not only appreciate the community more, but also taught me how to foster that community with others in my life now. I am currently in multiple leadership roles in life, and I have no doubt that God was using my time as an RA at Malone to prepare me for those roles now. The women on my staff and floor at Malone pushed me and helped me grow into more of the person that God created me to be. Being an RA taught me to be brave and confident, not in my own abilities, but because I have Jesus inside of me, guiding me every step of the way.
As I now find myself teaching high school math at a Christian school, I am even more grateful for the professors I had at Malone who helped me to learn how to weave Christ through education, no matter what the subject is. Faith is my foundation for everything, and Malone helped me to learn how to live that out in my everyday life.
Honestly, I could probably write an entire book about my experience at Malone, and it still wouldn’t be able to do it justice. I made lifelong friends who are truly family, rediscovered who I am in Christ, and realized that my calling is not necessarily a career, but to spread the light of Christ no matter where I go and what I do. Malone is so much more than a college, it is truly a family that pushes each other to be our best and use our gifts/talents to glorify God in all that we do.
Thank you, Malone, for not only teaching me academics, but how to put God first in my life in all that I do, and for providing me with an environment for 4 years that taught me what true Christian community looks like. I will always be thankful to be a Pioneer!

Lin McDowell '96


When I decided to return to college at the age of 43 and complete my degree, I chose Malone. My inspiration came as the result of my oldest daughter Rachael seeking God’s direction in 1993 in providing for her to complete her high school education at a Christian school. He provided for that need and then God reminded me that I had some unfinished business to take care of, that being completing my degree after having attended two other colleges with nothing to show for it.

I remember the day I walked on to the Malone campus. I knew I was home and where I belonged. My admissions counselor, Michelle Kauth-Williams, helped me along and pointed the way for me to getting back on track.

It was also in 1994 that Malone introduced the Commercial Music Technology major and I chose to be one of the pilot students in the program after talking with then department chair Sandra Carnes. Under her capable leadership and a major guided by instructor George Payne, the major was literally being put together one course at a time. It was an exciting time to be involved in such a pilot program. 

Returning to college in my mid-40s, I felt like an uncle to the younger students but they accepted me with open arms. It was also a struggle at times as I was also working a full time job. I was determined to complete what I had started.

1994 was also the first year of the "Pioneer Spirit Marching Band" under the able direction of Dr. Neil McMullian. As a trumpet player, Neil asked me to become the student assistant working with the brass sections.

I had the joy of working with the band for two years as it nicely dove-tailed with my studies in Commercial Music Technology. My daughter also attended Malone during my first semester and it was special for me to see her in the marching band as one of the two co-captains of the color guard during that first year.

I graduated in '96 as one of the first three students with a Bachelor of Arts in Commercial Music Technology along with my classmates Tim Dentler and Matt Botstater. We felt honored to have become a part of history at Malone with those degrees. I have used my degree knowledge to translate into work I have done in radio broadcasting as the technology was very similar.

Since then, I feel like I have never graduated. I became a public address announcer for Malone basketball and volleyball for 8 seasons and, on occasion, football. I was blessed to have served two terms on the Malone Alumni Executive Board wanting to remain involved in alumni activities. I have helped on many occasions to welcome the new and transfer students to the campus on orientation day.  As I am currently living in North Carolina, I miss those days of being able to celebrate the new school year with those entering “Pioneer Nation.”

Even now when I can get back home and stop by the campus for a visit, a special feeling comes over me knowing that Malone was part of God’s plan for my life. I step on to the campus and don’t want to leave.

When the Lord calls me home, please do me a favor: bury my body in a grave but bury my heart at Malone.


Megan McElrath '15

During my time at Malone, I had Dr. Miller for a Gen-Ed history class. In that class we read a book titled “Ordinary Men,” which detailed the true story of a German Police Battalion during the Holocaust.

The content of this book was incredibly challenging— not only did it describe the horrific details of the Holocaust, but it showed the humanity of the members of the Battalion and how they struggled carrying out the actions that they were assigned. It challenged my worldview and made me begin to realize just how damaging and complicated war is.

10 years after reading this book, I find myself living on an Army base— married to an Army chaplain. His unit was one of the last to leave Afghanistan during the close out of the war last year.

We live in a community of servicemen and women who have gone to war and have seen and experienced things that most of us can’t fathom. And yet, they BBQ, they grocery shop, they play ball in the streets with their kids— they too are ordinary men (and women).

My time at Malone, specifically my time reading and discussing “Ordinary Men” prepared me in ways I never imagined. I feel well equipped to live in community with these ordinary men and women (and their families) and to have empathy as they learn to live with their experiences in war.

Ann Marie Niziolek '97

Malone has had a significant impact on my life in so many ways. Twenty five years ago, before I graduated, Beth Clark-Thomas encouraged us to find a Bible passage to help guide us in our new careers as teachers. This was a profound request to find the passage that meant the most to us. After much searching, consulting with friends, and praying, I found 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.

During my first teaching job, I put it in my plan book, to remind myself daily to “pray continually, give thanks daily, and to rejoice always.” This verse helped me get through many difficult moments in teaching. I loved what I got to do. I love seeing the joy on students' faces when they figured out concepts. I truly believe that students know when their teacher loves what they do and it reflects in their behavior,

Unfortunately, during year 17 of my of my teaching career, I became ill. I seemed to catch every little illness. I no longer recovered quickly, I struggled to breathe, coughed incessantly, couldn’t find any energy and everything hurt. Doctors struggled to figure this out. I was so frustrated and struggled to find joy in my life. I finally met a pulmonologist who shared similar Christian values who reassured me that together we would figure this out. He sent me to the Cleveland Clinic. What baffled doctors for months, was figured out within minutes. I was diagnosed with Granulomatosis with Polyangitiis. They had recommended that I start chemotherapy the next day. At the time I was diagnosed, they gave me 3-5 years to live. I was terrified. My family reminded me of my Bible verse. My mom and dad prayed with me to give thanks for the doctors, pray continually, and to rejoice. I decided to finish teaching that year before starting chemo. The meds they gave me to help me wait caused my body to change into something I never had seen and changed my mood. Every day, my family encouraged me to continue to pray, the disease continued to ravage my body, taking my hearing in three days, destroying my lungs requiring oxygen and taking all of my muscle tone away. I was then bed-ridden. It was then that I bought my favorite Bible verse as wall art, so that I could be reminded everyday to be grateful, to pray and to rejoice.

I eventually had to stop teaching and doing what I loved to care for myself. My diagnosis was seven years ago. My life is so much different than I ever could imagine. I no longer walk and am more dependent on others than ever before. I spend my days at Seidman Cancer Center and at the Cleveland Clinic getting treatments and chemo. After twenty-five years, I am forever grateful for Beth’s advice and my time at Malone.