President Joshua Merchant to be inaugurated as BVU’s 18th President on May 4th


Emily Kenny

Isabel Haas, Contributing Writer

On May 4, 2018, Dr. Joshua Merchant will be officially sworn in as the 18th president of Buena Vista University (BVU).

Merchant has been the acting President of BVU since his hiring on June 26, 2017. The inauguration ceremony of President Merchant is a formal event taking place at 4PM on Friday, May 4, in Siebens Fieldhouse. Invitations have been extended to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and many others, who are encouraged to attend not only the inauguration, but the events taking place around campus before and after the ceremony.

Merchant is encouraging everyone to participate in the festivities that will take place on campus, and sees the inauguration as an opportunity to celebrate the community and the university.

“Even though it’s a presidential inauguration, it’s really about celebrating the campus and the community, and the future of the institution. I think it should be called ‘Celebrate BVU.’”

Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Civic Engagement Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, is a member of the inauguration committee, and says there are a lot of pieces that have gone into planning for the celebratory weekend.

“Everyone on the committee has a role, and there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of pieces that go into the planning of Inauguration and Block Party,” she said.

Meetings to plan for the festivities began in October 2017. Assistant to the President, Emily Williams, and Media Communications Specialist Teresa Wirtjers, are the co-chairs on the inauguration committee and have worked with a number of people to plan out the events that will occur that weekend.

Events and activities taking place on May 4 include the inauguration luncheon, held in the Dows Grand Ballroom at 12PM for invited guests, and tours of the Art Gallery, Harold Water Siebens Den, and the Estelle Siebens Science Center at 1:30PM.

Beginning at 3:15PM, robing and lining up for the ceremony procession will occur, followed by the Installation Ceremony in Siebens Fieldhouse, and ending the night with a reception at 5:30PM in the Foyer.

“We will start off the day with a luncheon, for invited guests,” Williams said. “It will be for donors, delegates that come from other universities, trustees, and President Merchant’s family and friends. We will also have six faculty members doing five-minute TED talks, which will be about topics they’re really interested about, followed by tours of the campus.”

Williams said that the inauguration will be a formal way to invite Merchant to be the president of BVU.

“Inauguration is a ceremony to formally introduce President Merchant as the 18th President of Buena Vista University, where we will have our Board Chair who will officially induct him”.

On Saturday, May 5, BVU’s annual Block Party will be celebrated with food trucks, inflatables, and games for all ages. Block Party will be open to all BVU students, faculty, and staff, along with Storm Lake community members.

“Block Party is not only for the campus community, but for Storm Lake community as well, which is really exciting that we can open it up and share in the celebration together,” Farmer-Hanson said.

Everyone at BVU is excited to celebrate President Merchant’s Inauguration with not only the students, faculty, and staff of BVU, but also with the community members of Storm Lake.

“It’s really an opportunity for us to celebrate our mission of who we are as an institution, but really then celebrating where we’re going,” said Merchant. “And that this is just a reaffirmation that the future is very bright.”