Alumni Profiles

Tue, 2012-07-17 11:14 -- univcomm

Alumni Profiles

Schaub tells the story of a beloved hymn
Sprague, Lau share about careers in psychology
Back in the dorm

Schaub tells the story of a beloved hymn

By Gary Wollenhaupt

Great stories will always find a way to be told. Finding Anna, the first book in the Music of the Heart series by Christine Schaub BA ’87 chronicles the tragic life of H.G. Spafford and his family, which inspired the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul.”

The book, available in October 2005 from Bethany House Publishers, kicks off the series that tells the powerful stories of hope behind some of the church’s great hymns. The next book is The Longing Season, the story behind “Amazing Grace,” followed by “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” familiar songs whose roots are largely forgotten.

Before they were novels, Schaub told these stories as one-person dramas, written originally when she attended East Side Church of God. Her music minister asked her if she knew the real story behind “It Is Well With My Soul.” Schaub first said, “I think so.” She then did enough research for a five-minute play, and found out she didn’t really know how the hymn came to be. “I thought I knew the story, but I didn’t,” she recalls. “If I, as a writer and researcher, thought I knew the story but didn’t, imagine what the average churchgoer knows.”

Finding Anna chronicles the fortunes of the Spafford family during and after the Chicago Fire of 1871, and features colorful fictional and real characters, including D.L. Moody. The story recounts staggering challenges the family faces in helping friends and the city recover from the fire and ultimately tells the tale of the cruel accident that led H.G. Spafford to write the poem that became “It Is Well With My Soul.”

Christine originally wanted to create films about the hymns. But a chance meeting with an agent at a performance of the dramas led to a meeting with a publisher, who thought the stories should be told in book form.

Schaub switched gears from thinking of screenplays to a novel and tackled the task with the same zest she brought to her earlier career as a corporate writer. Massively researched and creatively written, these novels make the people and their times come alive. “The thrill of historical fiction is that you can invent a lot of things. You don’t get to make up the main characters, or the events, because that has to be historically accurate, but you can make up conversations and situations based on what you know.”

Working on the dramas and the first book, she found a deeply interested audience for the forgotten history of great songs of faith. “I notice when I give the story behind these hymns, it creates this rebirth of the hymn. People learn the rest of the story, and the words they’ve been singing all their Christian lives suddenly have new meaning. So to me, if I can garner more interest in centuries-old hymns by telling the story behind it, then I think it’s a job well done.”

More information on Schaub and her books can be found on her Web site at

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Sprague, Lau share about careers in psychology

By Deborah Lilly

This past summer, two men who have made an impact on children and adults through their research and practice in psychology returned to their alma mater for their 50th class reunion. Richard Lau Lau and Sprague both came to AU because of their Church of God backgrounds. Lau even turned down a full four-year scholarship from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, to come to Anderson. He doesn’t regret his decision, “In return I received four years of enjoyable and memorable college experiences and lifelong friends,” says Lau.

Sprague majored in psychology and history at AU and from there went to Indiana University to earn his Ph.D. in psychology. After three years at a state-run mental health institution and a year at Northern Illinois University, he took a job at the University of Illinois. “It was one of the best things I ever did,” he says. He worked there for 36 years before retiring in 2000. During that time, he did a little of everything — research, graduate teaching, department head, head of a children’s research center, and, in his next-to-last year, dean. But Sprague says his primary job was that of a research professor.

Sprague started his research with hyperactive children. While hyperactive children have been treated with medication since 1937, his work was new at the time. “What we emphasized was the effect of medication on learning, and it has a profound effect on learning,” he explains. They published their first paper on the subject in 1965.

As a result of his work, Sprague was called to Washington, D.C., to serve as chairman of the FDA’s child pharmacology committee for four years. He ended up spending 22 years on federal committees. “I knew the way from Champaign to Washington quite well,” he says.

Sprague also spent a lot of time fighting misconduct he identified in the scientific community. He wrote letters and testified before Congress many times. The scientist in question later plead guilty for falsifying his findings in research of government-funded drug studies. Sprague says, “I give my parents, grandparents, and Anderson a lot of credit for building in me a sense of morality and truthfulness.”

Lau came to psychology because of some basic questions that arose for him during his high school and college years, such as what is human nature, how is personality formed, can a person profoundly change, and how is all of this related to theology, religious practices, and religious experiences. He rounded out his psychology major at AU with minors in Bible and sociology. Lau continued his studies at the University of Southern California, earning a Ph.D. and becoming a licensed clinical psychologist. He has lived in California ever since.

Lau’s practice has been primarily with public educational institutions. He was a district psychologist for a unified school district, a college psychologist with Pasadena City College, and for 20 years the chief psychologist for the San Diego Community College District with more than 80,000 students in three colleges and a continuing education component. For Lau, education was an exciting field to work in as a psychologist. As he explains, it was a microcosm of problems in society. He worked with dyslexia, teenage depression and suicide, gang violence, and everything in between.

“The decades of the 1960s and early ’70s were particularly tumultuous and busy,” he recalls. “Our society experienced eruptions related to civil rights and race, the Vietnam War, the exploding drug culture, the sexual revolution, the assassination of three prominent national figures, and Watergate.” Over the years, his professional activities included psychological counseling, supervising clinical psychologist doctoral candidates in their internships, conducting neuropsychological assessments, managing programs for the disabled, and extensive committee and task force work for the state chancellor’s office in Sacramento, which consisted of research to write regulation guidelines to implement federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After a long career, Lau still hears from former clients. “That is very satisfying. I am indeed thankful for the service opportunities afforded me in the field of psychology.”

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Back in the dorm

By Stefanie Leiter

Being a resident assistant in an Anderson University dorm prepared Mike Greenhoe BA ’04 for life after college more than he suspected it would. As it turns out, he’s back in the dorm again, this time at Black Forest Academy in Kandern, Germany. He oversees 28 guys at the international school.

The Black Forest Academy was founded in 1956 by Janz Team Ministries. It is an international Christian school providing an English language education for grades one through 12. It serves the children of missionaries and international business families who want a North American curriculum that incorporates a Christian worldview. Black Forest Academy has an enrollment of approximately 340 students, 200 of them in the residential boarding program for grades seven to 12.

“After spending a summer in chemical research, I felt unfulfilled and wanted to look for different opportunities and the ministry of BFA sounded like a good opportunity. I am glad that I made the decision to try something new,” commented Greenhoe on why he went to Germany.

Being thousands of miles away from his home in Michigan, Greenhoe’s responsibilities include many of the R.A. duties he had at AU but with a spin. Not only does he watch over 28 guys in the dorm but does laundry, cooks, makes lunches, supervises study hours at night, drives the students to school, and helps with the cross country team.

“The responsibilities here are a lot different than what I had at AU,” explains Greenhoe. “With this being a high school atmosphere, the students are a lot more dependent upon me, and I am in between the brother and father role many times.”

Greenhoe felt “a call” to come to Black Forest Academy in this missionary position and has come back to the United States to recruit other college graduates for R.A. positions. With his future plans uncertain, Greenhoe returned this year after coming home to raise funds for this year and will figure out from there “where God wants me to be.” For more information on the school, go to

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