Wednesday, December 16, 2015

BW Success News Has Moved

Looking for stories on Baldwin Wallace University students, alumni and faculty who are doing and experiencing great things? Our success news has moved to the BW website at:

Click on "Student Experiences," "Alumni Success" and/or "Faculty Achievement" tabs to view the latest news from our community and celebrate our success!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Music Theatre Alumnus Brings Kris Kringle to Life

Photo courtesy Tom Shirilla
This holiday season, Mack Shirilla '13 stars in "Kris Kringle the Musical," written by Maria Ciampi with music and lyrics by Tim Janis. The show will be making its world premiere at Olmsted Performing Arts under the direction of Pierre Brault.

In an interview with, Ciampi explains she is hoping the show, with its original book and score, will make it all the way to Broadway. "There has not been an original Christmas musical on Broadway in quite some time. The musicals of recent years have mainly been adaptations of films."

Shirilla will be playing the young Kringle, "a dreamy, unemployed toy maker living in the Big Apple whose life changes when he tangles with a ruthless toy company CEO".

"Kris Kringle" runs Dec. 5-13, with ticket prices ranging from $18-$22. Call 440-235-6722 or click here for tickets.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Alumnae Link Arts, Tech and Entrepreneurship in Web Series

Megan Poletti and Kristen Klehr on set of The Creative Technology
Web Series - Photo credit: Nick Kuhar
Conservatory professor and alumna Megan Poletti '08 has collaborated with percussion performance graduate and LA-based concert producer Kristen Klehr '10 to create a Creative Technology web series that highlights specific elements of entrepreneurship that help new musicians and artists on the road to success.

Poletti says the two teamed up due to their similar mindset. "[Klehr] is a successful entrepreneur who has created many opportunities for herself, and took her music degree beyond the “typical” boundaries. She’s an ambitious person and an inspiration, and sees a career in music as an opportunity for independence and the pursuit of her own projects, like I do."

Poletti's company, heypoletti! LLC, is focused on linking music, technology and entrepreneurship, with a mission"to inspire not only musicians, but also artists, small businesses, and creative entrepreneurs to use technology to aid in the pursuit of their artistic visions."

The web series features five videos published over a six week period beginning in mid September. "The Creative Technology Web Series is part of my goal to continue into teaching more topics involving artists and entrepreneurship, especially using new media (like video and podcasting)," Poletti explains.

Poletti plans to continue the web series, bringing in more guest speakers and introducing new topics. She is also working on a 2016 e-book that she says will act as "an introductory marketing guide for the aspiring creative entrepreneur."

Monday, November 30, 2015

BW Grad with Cleveland Roots Radiates Broadway Star Power

(photo courtesy of
At 24, recent BW alumnus Chris McCarrell '13 has found his way into the bright lights of Broadway, now performing as Marius in the revival of Les Misérables. As a hot young talent on the Great White Way, McCarrell is featured in a charming, "Broadway Buzz" feature article, video and photo shoot.

McCarrell made his Broadway debut almost immediately after his graduation from Baldwin Wallace and he's optimistic about the future, expressing his ambition, in the interview, to have a role in the creation of a new show within the next five years. His goal for 50 years from now? Working as a director or manager of a theater company.

McCarrell's performance resume also includes a turn in the NBC TV Peter Pan Live broadcast as one of the Lost Boys. In his time at BW, McCarrell performed in Pippin, Sweeney Todd, and Next to Normal.

For the current holiday season, McCarrell will headline "Christmas Carols with Chris McCarrell" at New York's "54 Below" on Monday, Dec. 7,  and he's tracked a solo for the 2015 “Broadway’s Carols for a Cure, Volume 17”, a 2-disc, annual CD of original and traditional holiday music to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Earlier this fall, McCarrell released, 'Now You're Here' a duet with Katie Rose Clarke, to benefit the same cause.

Although he's loving life in New York, McCarrell takes pride in his Northeast Ohio roots, telling,  “I grew up south of Cleveland. Went to college west of Cleveland. I’m an all-around Clevelander."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Professor Calls for More Faculty to Teach About Race

Baldwin Wallace associate professor and director of Leadership in Higher Education, Ken Schneck, is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, posting thought-provoking commentary on a multitude of topics such as LGBTQ rights and the faculty response to sexual assault on campuses. His latest article titled, "Dear White Professors: You Must Teach a Course on Race," encourages faculty members not to shy away from leading campus dialogue on race.

Schneck takes on the reasons why some white professors, who make up 80% of full-time college professors in higher education, avoid teaching about race and urges them to incorporate courses on race into their disciplines.

He counters the argument that race isn't relevant in certain subjects with, "You teach in economics, nursing, musical theatre, education, political science or any other discipline out there? Race is there. It's always there. Not teaching about the intersection doesn't make it go away."

Schneck acknowledges the trepidation that some professors might feel --that class discussions may sometimes become heated, that the students in a given class may not be diverse, and that a white professor might inadvertently say something problematic. In response, he argues that professors can create a safe, respectful place for student opinions from the first day, can teach an all-white class to openly confront white privilege, and can "own" their mistakes and constantly challenge their assumptions and opinions.

The article concludes with Schneck saying, "I will never claim that I have all the answers. I will never assert that I am culturally competent (which is a process, not a status). I will never put forth that I don't have white privilege....Most of all, what I will do is continue to push my faculty colleagues to add more courses that explore how race affects everything that we do."

Schneck is also the producer and host of This Show is So Gay, a nationally-recognized radio show which encourages people to discuss LGBTQ topics in unique ways. He also was a recent guest on WCPN, Cleveland's NPR station, to discuss National Coming Out Week for The Sound of Ideas program.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BW Music Theatre Students to Hit the Stage at Nighttown

The BW Music Theatre Class of 2017 prepares to dazzle audiences at Nighttown
One important ingredient in developing Broadway-ready talent in the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music's Music Theatre program involves live performance opportunities for students on and off campus. Playhouse Square and Beck Center feature BW students in full productions, while smaller venues, like Nighttown, showcase BW's stars-in-the-making in a more intimate setting.

After debuting "Gold Standards" to packed houses here on campus, BW Music Theatre juniors will take the concert featuring selections from The Music Man, Brigadoon and Oklahoma to Nighttown on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the December 9 performance can be purchased online.

Nighttown will host Senior Cabaret Night on March 28, 2016, and the dining and entertainment destination will also feature BW Music Theatre students on May 2, 2016, for a performance of the senior showcase, a selection of standards performed by sophomores.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Physics Professor Guides Innovation Workshop in Mexico City

Peter Hoekje, Associate Professor of Physics, recently traveled to Mexico City to participate in Semanai, a week-long event for students and teachers to experience learning in a fresh way. Semanai is hosted by a large private system of about 30 colleges known as Tecnologico de Monterrey.

Hoekje (middle) assists as technical adviser during Semanai
(Photo Courtesy of Tecnológico de Monterrey Facebook)
For the week's music production program, Dr. Hoekje was invited to give a workshop in musical instrument acoustics, and to serve as technical adviser and judge in a design competition.

Hoekje mentored 30 students from various majors such as music production, industrial design, mechatronics, and biomechanical engineering. Working in teams of five over the course of four days, the groups were tasked with creating n original design or prototype of a toy, digital interface, or musical instrument.

Among the complex creations that resulted: a musical interface, labeled the "liszt," which used different finger placements on sensors on the controller to play musical sequences.

During Semanai, Hoekje said, "The students are really enjoying the challenge, the opportunity to learn new things, and the experience of working in groups of people with different backgrounds." Hoekje hopes to do something similar at Baldwin Wallace.

Alpha Phi Takes Philanthropy to Heart

Several BW student leaders were "arrested" by the sisters of Alpha Phi for their "Cardiac Arrest" philanthropy event. Friends of those "locked up" could "bail out" their friends by donating to The Alpha Phi Foundation, which benefits women's heart health and scholarships to Alpha Phi sisters nationwide.

"This event is important to us," Lauren Schneider '16, Vice President of Marketing for Alpha Phi, said, "because it allows us to create awareness about a serious health issue and donate money to a cause that is so important to our chapter."

Attendees could also "pie" a sister for a donation, and there was pizza and cornhole just for fun.

"My favorite part of Cardiac Arrest is getting other fraternities, sororities, and sports teams involved," Schneider said. "It is always awesome to see so many other organizations on campus come together to help up support the philanthropy that means so much to us."

The event made over $900 to support The Alpha Phi Foundation. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BW Film Major Shines a Light on Mission Guatemala

Elise Bigley shows kids the videos she took of
them and their school
Film and international studies major Elise Bigley '16 spent six weeks at an internship in Panajachel, Guatemala where she helped create films for Mission Guatemala, a new BW partner for service-learning and study abroad.

Mission Guatemala works to help "meet the basic needs and improve the quality of life of under-served and impoverished Guatemalan peoples through health, education and nutrition initiatives and missionary service."

"I am very excited to give back by documenting their accomplishments," Bigley says on her study abroad blog.

Bigley was joined by eight BW faculty and staff members during her second week in Guatemala. They were laying a foundation for the expanded relationship between BW and Mission Guatemala.

"The people are incredible and have such a vibrant culture and history. Beautiful scenery, delicious coffee, and gorgeous rural and urban settings are just a some of the notable characteristics. The experience pushed me out of my comfort zone, but still supported me in a way that has me dying to go back."

Bigley is currently working on the largest film from her internship, but has created a short informational video including footage she gathered that encourages others to study abroad in Guatemala.

Bigley's internship was facilitated through the BW Honors Program, which is working with Explorations/Study Abroad to create more opportunities for students in the future. An Honors faculty led program is planned for May 2016.

Conservatory of Music Students, Faculty Play Violins of Hope

The BW Conservatory of Music has embraced, amplified and been inspired by Amnon Weinstein's effort to bring the voices of those lost in the Holocaust back to life. Over the past two decades Weinstein has worked to restore violins that survived the Holocaust. Now, 19 of the restored instruments are featured in an exhibition known as Violins of Hope that runs until Jan. 3, 2016 at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Student and faculty musicians from BW's Conservatory of Music are plugged into two events that use some of these restored violins.

On Oct. 25, members of the BW Symphony Orchestra performed Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Continuo in D minor, BWV 1043. The Orchestra was conducted by Octavio Más-Arocas and featured faculty soloists Julian Ross and Barton Samuel Rotberg.

Students toured the exhibit following the performance, a profoundly moving and "eye opening" experience for junior music performance major Therese West '17.
Maltz Museum Education & Public Programs Director, Jeffery Allen,
leads BW students through the Violins of Hope Exhibition.

"As we went through the museum and heard all of the stories about each violin it was difficult to wrap your head around what that instrument and it's owner had been through," West says. "Some of the stories they told us were heartbreaking. Some of the musicians played their instrument to find relief and others played to stay alive. It was amazing to hear how music helped so many people persevere through such a horrible time. "

Dr Julian Ross
 "Violins of Hope is a tangible reminder of catastrophic tragedy, yet also confirmation of the resiliency of Jewish cultural and religious life," Dr. Ross says. "Thinking of some of the genuinely heroic people who created the tradition of Jewish violinists is profoundly humbling."

Ross will be featured again on Wednesday, Nov. 18 in a lecture/performance called The Mystery of the Violin. He will be performing with fellow BW Conservatory professor Robert Mayerovich on piano. This event will take place at 7 p.m. at the Maltz Museum.

Ross explained that since the 16th century, violin music has not only been a large part of Jewish cultural and social life, but a way to overcome repression. "I've also come to understand how fortunate and blessed I have been, to live in a time and place where I can study and perform, and have wonderful students who love music. The generations who came before me struggled to make this possible, and I pray that I honor them with the work that I do."

In a Cleveland Scene interview, museum director Ellen Rudolph shares her enthusiasm for the performances associated with the exhibit, saying, “It’s an amazing opportunity to bring those voices to life and connect with those who are lost.”

Friday, November 6, 2015

Zeta Tau Alpha Races to Success at Philanthropy Event

Members of the Baldwin Wallace community could be seen racing down the sidewalks of Berea for a good cause this fall as the sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha held their annual Race for the Ribbon philanthropy event supporting Breast Cancer Education and Awareness.

"The event itself allows us to raise money for our foundation, which supports educational programming, survivor recognition, and other awareness events," said Savanah Craig '18, Philanthropy Director of Zeta Tau Alpha.
In addition to the race, participants could also "pie" the presidents of various BW student organizations with shaving cream. Overall, the event raised about $1,800 for the cause.

"When we start sharing the race with people, it gives us an opportunity to put breast health on their radar and help share tips for risk reduction and prevention," Craig noted. "After months of planning it was really great to see everyone enjoying themselves and supporting a cause that is so dear to each of us."

MBA Grad Appointed Chief of Staff

BW MBA grad Laura Gronowski '93  has been appointed chief of staff for the nonprofit, Center for Health Affairs, as well as business affiliate CHAMPS Healthcare.

Photo courtesy: 
The Center of Health Affairs
According to a news release, Gronowski will oversee three business lines of CHAMPS Healthcare along with the member services operations and internal operations for The Center, reporting directly to CEO Bill Ryan.

Ryan describes Gronowski as "an innovative leader with a client-centric vision and a proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive strong business results."

With more than 25 years of experience in healthcare purchasing and supply chain management, more than 13 years at CHAMPS, Gronowski said, “This has always been a place I felt encouraged to challenge myself professionally and think outside the box to grow our business. I am excited to continue on that course in my new role.”

Prior to her recent appointment, Gronowski served as Senior Vice President of CHAMPS and is credited with playing a role in increasing the company's revenue and expanding geographical sales area. Before joining CHAMPS, Gronowski gained experience in multiple Northeast Ohio hospitals. She's also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.