One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Mark D. Weinstein, Executive Director of Public Relations

At its annual May meeting, Cedarville University’s board of trustees honored the service of several long-standing faculty members — 50 years or longer — by unanimously naming residential facilities after them. Trustees also approved the appointment of 10 new faculty members for the 2024-25 academic year and affirmed a new six-year pathway for its Doctor of Pharmacy program. 

With the construction of Cedarville’s most recent residence hall nearing completion, trustees approved the naming of the women’s hall after Dr. Pamela Diehl Johnson and the men’s hall for Dr. Murray Murdoch. The common area between the residential rooms will be the Phipps Center, named to honor Dr. James Phipps.  

This new residence hall is the seventh housing facility built at Cedarville University in the past six years. It will provide housing for 348 students; 174 women students will live in Diehl Johnson, and 174 men students will live in Murdoch Hall. The previous six residence halls provide rooms for 648 students. 

Diehl Johnson served at Cedarville University from 1974 until her death on February 14, 2024. She was the dean of undergraduate studies, senior professor of kinesiology and allied health and the associate head tennis coach. 

During her 50-year career, Johnson was recognized as one of the foremost authorities in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) women's tennis. She was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2004, the National Christian College Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and Cedarville University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. 

Murdoch, who retired last year after serving on the faculty for 56 years, earned his doctoral degree in history from Northwestern University. The distinguished professor of history and government impacted thousands of college students and was key in developing Cedarville’s history and government department. 

As the chair of the department, he became well known for his course on social movements, reflecting a lifelong desire that people of all races find an open and loving reception in Bible-believing institutions. 

With his insistence on treating all people with dignity and honor, Murdoch founded the Civil Rights Bus Tour, a 2,000-mile journey during Cedarville’s fall breaks that visits historical landmarks, including the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, site of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” voting march, and 16th Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where four young girls were killed in a 1963 bombing. 

Outside of the classroom, Murdoch was Cedarville’s men’s tennis coach. His teams recorded 563 wins during a stellar 29-year career that included 88 consecutive dual-match victories — both records at the university. Under his leadership, Cedarville’s men’s team claimed 23 NAIA District titles and 23 Mid-Ohio conference championships. In 1989, his team finished eighth at the NAIA national tournament. 

Phipps joined the Cedarville faculty in 1968 and served the university for 55 years, including 36 years as the chair of the department of communication. Cedarville’s development of communication programs can’t be explained without direct references to Phipps. 

“He’s too humble to say it, but I tell everyone: You can’t tell the story of Cedarville Communication without talking about Dr. Phipps,” said Derrick Green, current department chair. “He built us.” 

Phipps’ expertise was in historical rhetoric, political rhetoric, storytelling, leadership, persuasive theory, interpersonal communication theory, and communication ethics. In addition to teaching, Phipps served the Village of Cedarville for 16 years as mayor, and he was the voice of Cedarville athletics for 32 years. 

Trustees also named a second townhouse on campus, built in 2013, Gromacki Hall in memory of the former distinguished professor of bible and Greek, Robert Gromacki, who taught at Cedarville for 50 years.  

Gromacki authored 16 books, including a widely used New Testament Survey textbook. He also is known for writing theological publications on “The Virgin Birth,” “Salvation is Forever,” and “The Holy Spirit.” In the 1992-93 academic year, Gromacki was awarded the Faculty Scholar of the Year.  

Business Building Completion 

Trustees toured the recently completed $40 million Lorne C. Scharnberg Business and Communication Center (SBCC) that will open for classes in August. The new building is part of Cedarville’s $175 million strategic plan campaign, of which $156.6 has been committed.  

The SBCC is the fifth building to be constructed as part of the One Thousand Days Transformed campaign, which commenced in 2021. The facility will house the Robert W. Plaster School of Business, department of communication, the center for the advancement of cybersecurity and the Barry Center for Free Enterprise. 

Pharmacy Accelerated Pathway 

The pathways to receiving a doctor of pharmacy degree from Cedarville’s 15-year-old School of Pharmacy now include a six-year pathway, after approval by the trustees. The pathway to completion reinforces key concepts and creates a more integrated curriculum for the students.  The physics prerequisite has also been removed from the admissions requirements for all new PharmD students, reflecting changes in pharmacy education across the country. 

New Faculty  

Trustees interviewed each candidate and approved the following new faculty appointments:  

Jason Alligood, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology. Alligood earned a doctoral degree in systematic theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in bible and theology from Calvary Theological Seminary. His bachelor’s degree in bible and student ministry is from the Moody Bible Institute. Before joining Cedarville’s faculty, he was the teaching pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Peoria, Illinois.

Jill Bevan, M.S.N., assistant professor of nursing. Bevan earned a Master of Science degree in nursing education from Capella University and a bachelor's degree in nursing and a Registered Nurse diploma from The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Prior to joining the Cedarville faculty, Bevan was an adjunct faculty member at Xavier University. 

Andy Blakenship, M.A., assistant professor of mathematics. Blakenship earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Marshall University, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cedarville University and a bachelor’s degree in integrated mathematics education from the University of Rio Grande. Before joining the Cedarville faculty, Blakenship was an administrator and pre-calculus teacher at Ohio Valley Christian School. 

Beth Cappelletti, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Cappelletti earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Temple University and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Chestnut Hill College. Before joining Cedarville’s faculty, she was a compounding pharmacist at Gateway Pharmacy Custom Prescriptions in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. 

Jessica Geyer, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology. Geyer earned her doctoral degree in biology from the University of Dayton and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Cedarville University. Before joining Cedarville’s full-time faculty, Geyer was an instructor of biology at Cedarville University. 

Sean O’Donnell, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology. O’Donnell earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in geological sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. His bachelor’s degree in geology is from Cedarville University. Before joining the Cedarville faculty, O’Donnell was a geoscience engineer for OffWorld, Inc. 

Douglas Schaak, D.A., professor of English. Schaak earned his doctoral degree in English from Idaho State University and master’s and bachelor’s degree in English from Butler University. Before joining the Cedarville faculty, Schaak was an associate professor of English at Multnomah University.  

Cary Shaw, Ed.D., assistant professor of education. Shaw earned his doctoral degree in educational theory and practice from Binghamton University and a master’s degree in general education from Elmira College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cedarville University. Before joining the faculty, he was the Head of School at Twin Tiers Christian Academy. 

Sarah Wallace, M.S., assistant professor of allied health. Wallace earned her master’s degree in allied health education from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Russell Sage College. Before joining the faculty, Wallace was a physical therapist at Graceworks Lutheran Services in Centerville, Ohio and an adjunct faculty member in Cedarville's School of Allied Health and Psychology. 

Elizabeth Wright, Ph.D., assistant professor of linguistics. Wright earned her doctoral degree in Arabic language, literature and linguistics from Georgetown University. Her master’s degree is in Arabic language and her bachelor’s degree is in languages from Georgetown. Before joining the faculty, Wright was an adjunct professor of Arabic at Cedarville University. 


Trustees officially recommended the conferral of 995 degrees at the 128th annual commencement ceremonies that took place Saturday, May 4, in two separate programs. This class included 846 undergraduate and 149 graduate students and represented a 4.6% increase from last year’s class. 

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