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Summer 2009
Special Edition Vol. 1 of 5

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First graduating class of the Hoverter Course

                                                                                                                          Scott Markley '12

The 11 Hoverter Course students celebrated their graduation with friends, family, and faculty at the International House in Harrisburg on March 31. Helen Walker, associate professor of writing; Paul Rego, assistant professor of politics (back row, far right and second from right, respectively); and Jean Corey, assistant professor of English (front row, far right) were among the Messiah faculty to attend the ceremony.


Messiah’s non-traditional ‘graduates’ complete 110 hours in humanities

Hoverter Course provides education to 11 students from local counties



A couple months before Commencement, a very different kind of Messiah graduation was held March 31. These 11 students did not live in the residence halls or attend four years of classes. In fact, they didn’t do most of the usual things that traditional Messiah students do. That’s because they are Hoverter graduates.

Three years ago, the Center for Public Humanities began offering free instruction—called the Hoverter Course—to Harrisburg-area adults who have not previously had the opportunity to further their educations. The intensive humanities program is taught by Messiah faculty and made possible by the generous support of the Hoverter Foundation.

The students who enrolled completed 110 hours of humanities instruction in writing, communication, critical/ethical thinking, creative arts, and history/civics. As students tackled assignments that included presenting speeches and writing theatre monologues, they became more comfortable in their abilities. “The course allows students to ‘test the waters’ of taking a college course,” says Nance McCown ’85, assistant professor of communication. She taught Communication in the 21st Century as part of the Hoverter Course.

After meeting for classes twice a week for six months at Messiah’s Harrisburg Institute, the students graduated at the International House in downtown Harrisburg with three credits from Messiah College and a new perspective on education—and themselves. “I have learned that I am capable,” says Hoverter graduate Dianne DeRosa. “I am creative.”

Randy Basinger congratulates Hoverter graduate
                                                                           Scott Markley '12

Provost Randy Basinger shakes hands with a Hoverter graduate

at the International House in Harrisburg March 31.

Jean Corey, assistant professor of English, taught the class Writing Matters to the group. She says that some students have been inspired to take the next step toward completing their college education. “One of the women from this year’s class wrote a piece advocating for victims of sexual predators,” says Corey. “At graduation, she announced that she has already enrolled at a local community college. She plans to further her education so she can continue her advocacy as a professional.”

This may be one class in which the professors were transformed as much as the students. “Watching them grow as individuals in their communication skills and watching them truly support and encourage one another as they worked together to brainstorm, offer feedback, and overcome nervousness was a joy,” says McCown. In keeping with the legacy of Messiah College’s 100-year history, this course is yet another example of scholarship combined with service. Congratulations, Hoverter class of 2009!


—Abigail Long ’12



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Read interviews with Messiah College faculty who taught classes in the Hoverter Course


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