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Wendell Witter

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Coordinator of Cocurricular Adventure Programs | Adventure Education Adjunct Faculty | Director of the Loft | 717-796-1800, ext. 7096

Wendell directs adventure-based leadership and team-building experiences for Messiah's campus through The Loft and also serves as the primary advisor to the student-run Outdoors Club. He holds an M.A. from Wheaton College in Educational Ministries and has worked in experiential education since 1998. He currently lives on Messiah College’s campus with his wife Teri and their four children. Wendell enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, especially rock climbing and white water canoeing.


  • B.S., Engineering, Messiah College
  • M.A., Educational Ministries, Wheaton College


  • Professional Climbing Instructors' Association (PCIA) Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, 2009–present
  • Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) Level II Facilitator, 2011–2014
  • Wilderness First Responder, Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO), 2000–present
  • Wilderness First Aid Instructor, Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO), 2016–present


  • American Canoe Association (ACA) Moving Water Course - Level 3 (Tandem), 2008
  • American Canoe Association (ACA) Swift Water Rescue Course, 2011
  • Leave No Trace
  • Multi-day Backpacking & Canoe Travel

Dave Tanis

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Assistant Professor of Adventure Education | 717-796-1800, ext. 2134

Dave has been involved in adventure programming in the college setting since 1991. Prior to his career as a faculty member, he spent 13 years working for a campus ministry organization. During this time he discovered that adventure activities could be a powerful catalyst for promoting growth and transformation in student’s lives. Dave is now committed to equipping students with the wisdom and skills necessary to develop powerful learning opportunities utilizing adventure activities. He is the primary professor in the Adventure Education major and also assists Wendell as needed with the Outdoors Club. Dave has a D.Ed. from Penn State in the field of Adult Education where he explored the role of play and playfulness in learning among adults. Although he loves playing and learning with students, his favorite play mates are his wife Tricia and their three children. He holds numerous professional certifications in various adventure activities, but is most passionate about water based activities and loves paddling his white water canoe on the Lower Youghiogheny River.


  • B.S., Engineering, Calvin College
  • M.A., Higher Education, Geneva College
  • D.Ed. Adult Education Penn State University


  • American Canoe Association (ACA) Instructor/Instructor Trainer
    • Level 3 Whitewater Canoeing Instructor Trainer, 2011–present
    • Level 3 River Safety and Rescue Instructor, 2011–present
  • Wilderness Education Association (WEA) Instructor, 1995–present
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Master Educator, 2004–present
  • Professional Climbing Instructors' Association (PCIA) Base Managed Climbing Instructor, 2010–2013
  • Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) Level II Facilitator, 2013–2016
  • Wilderness First Responder, Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities (SOLO), 1993–present

Bob Barrett

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Assistant Professor of the Mathematical Sciences | Founding Advisor to the Outdoors Club | 717-796-1800, ext. 2510

Mr. Barrett has been kayaking for more than 20 years and takes college and church groups on kayaking and hiking trips. He assists Wendell as needed with the Outdoors Club and enjoys teaching outdoor and boating skills, averaging more than 100 trips per year. He has taught at Messiah College for more than 40 years, pioneering the engineering major and the physics major at Messiah. 


  • B.S. MIT
  • M.S. University of Washington
  • Further graduate studies at Shippensburg University and Kansas State University