by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer
On May 4, the Cedarville University family celebrates the retirement of Frank and Barb Jenista after 17 years of service. Frank served as professor of international studies, while Barb served with Cedarville’s academic enrichment center, The Cove, as an adjunct professor. Their impact at Cedarville University has reached beyond academics and into the hearts of students and faculty members.
On April 23, The Cove recognized Barb’s service to the university with a celebration. The travel-themed event took place in The Cove in the Center for Biblical and Theological Studies, from 3-5 p.m. The Cedarville department of history and government celebrated Frank earlier this year at a reception for retiring faculty.
Barb and Frank both graduated from Cedarville University in 1968 and 1970 respectively, and were blessed by the investment of longtime faculty like Dr. Murray Murdoch, who taught and mentored them both spiritually and personally.
After marrying Barb, Frank had a successful career with the U.S. State Department, but felt called to return to Cedarville to care for the next generation of Cedarville students.
“As a colleague, I will miss Dr. Jenista's rigor, his high expectations for students and his infectious laugh,” said Dr. Mark Caleb Smith, chair of the department of history and government. “He and Mrs. Jenista were always a treat to be around, and they were gracious with their time and their home. You don't replace faculty members like Frank Jenista. You search for the next generation and hope for the best.”
“Frank is so much more than a colleague to me,” said Dr. Glen Duerr, associate professor of international studies. “He is a mentor, friend and someone with whom I could ask important questions. He and his wife, Barb, were very generous with their time when my wife and I first moved to Cedarville University, and they allowed us to stay at their house on numerous occasions while we got to know the area.
“Frank is a Cedarville treasure — he is among the very finest people I know, and he frequently uses his platform to witness to others. I have learned so very much from watching his life.”
When she began working at Cedarville University, Barb wore many hats: teaching, academic coaching, pedagogy and curriculum assessment. Her responsibilities included The Cove’s foundations class, where students learn study skills and other tools for college success. During her time at Cedarville, she taught more than 160 students and was involved in nearly every event at The Cove.
“Barb Jenista is the main reason I am still at Cedarville,” said Christiana Jackson, junior athletic training major from Hagerstown, Maryland. “She mentored me during her time here, and I will be forever grateful for her. I struggled with my many science classes freshman and sophomore year, and I came into her office crying, afraid I would not be able to pass them all. Without her encouragement, I would not be the woman I am today. Mrs. J. will be forever missed, and her absence will not go unnoticed.”
“Barb was an example and an inspiration to me regarding the significance of making positive changes in the classroom based on experience and best practices,” said Rebecca Kuhn, learning assistant specialist. “Most importantly, Barb loved her students and developed relationships with her students. She was my role model in this area.”
“Barb brought so much joy and wisdom to The Cove,” said Kim Ahlgrim, director of The Cove. “She worked because she loved it and strongly believed in providing academic support to students. She put all of her time and energy there. She knew how to make people comfortable and how to make learning fun.”
Barb’s brain child was Syllabus Crunch — an event where students could come and learn how to set up a study plan for their year based on their newly received syllabi. She has also been involved in Getting Started weekend, CU Fridays and any Cove event. She is known for her hospitality and her love for students.
“Mrs. Jenista was a huge part of what made my first semester seem attainable,” said Meredith Schrock, freshman nursing student from Ada, Michigan. “She encouraged us when we were frustrated and confused and built us up on the word in order to do better. And always made me feel like I meant the world to her, she made each one of her students feel special, loved and cared for.”
“Frank and Barb Jenista epitomize the concept of giving back,” said Dr. Thomas Mach, vice president for academics. “Countless students have benefitted from their hospitality and their commitment to helping them succeed at Cedarville in the same way that faculty invested in and impacted their lives when they were students here. Frank and Barb Jenista have invested in and impacted the lives of students in their "retirement" years, and Cedarville is better for having them.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.