A new space for the Kissinger Learning Center was recently dedicated in the Nicholson University Library at Anderson University. The Kissinger Learning Center started as a center for students with documented learning challenges. Starting with six students, the program continues to grow as a place for students in need of help academically can go and receive help where needed. Today, between 300 and 500 students come to the Kissinger Learning Center each semester for tutoring, study groups, or help with classroom assignments. The program also offers workshops in study skills, time management, learning styles, note taking, reading textbooks and preparing for exams (PHOTO--from l to r: President James L. Edwards; Rinda Vogelgesang, director of Disabled Student Services; and Ron Moore, senior development consultant).
The Center was named for Clyde G. Kissinger who was stricken with polio at age 4. At the age of 17, he drilled his first oil well and began his own oil company. His daughter, Connie (Kissinger) Frederick and her husband Glen, recognized his achievement in overcoming this challenge and provided the initial funds to purchase and renovate a building that would become the first home of the center.
Since 1990, John and Cleo Leppien have given faithfully through the Leppien Foundation to the Center. In the beginning, their support funded salary for additional staff and provided funds for the expansion of office and building space. The Leppien’s were responsible for providing the funds to renovate a space in the library to house the Center. In addition, new furniture and new computer equipment was provided.
Through the Leppien’s and Kissinger’s recognition for academic success for all students, the Kissinger Learning Center has been a vital part of AU’s campus for the past 19 years.
“Today we dedicate and re-dedicate the Kissinger Learning Center towards this mission,” said President James Edwards.
Rinda Vogelgesang, who has been with the Kissinger Learning Center since its inception in 1987, commented on the beginnings of the center and how it “helped pave the way” for other small Christian colleges to develop such a program.
“Faculty and staff at AU have always embraced what we do,” said Vogelgesang. She also commented that with the support and advocacy of the campus has helped expand the program throughout the years.
AU alum Todd Byrns represented the students and alumni of campus because of his 5 years at AU through the Kissinger Learning Center. Byrns has lived with a learning disability his whole life and came from a single parent income family. When he met with Vogelgesang his senior year of high school about attending AU, he was still unsure about college academically but took a chance on Rinda’s advice.
“I learned how to become a student for the first time my freshman year at AU through help from the staff on taking notes and how to prepare and take tests,” commented Byrns. “They believed in me and I started to believe in myself.”
The ceremony closed with a few words from President Edwards on the Leppien’s and how they have “become our angels in so many ways for the Kissinger Learning Center.” A ribbon cutting and reception followed with those in attendance.
Anderson University is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, education and theology.
— Stefanie Leiter is web editor for the office of University Communications at Anderson University