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The 10 most viewed stories of 2015


GREENVILLE, Pa.—Appointments, a groundbreaking, high-profile appearances and historic announcements made 2015 an exciting year for Thiel College.

President Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D., announced the Thiel 2016 Capital Campaign, Rod ’86 and Jill (Gardner) Wilt ’85 endowed the first coaching position at the College and in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, and ground was broken for a new track and field facility. Those were just three of the items among the 109 Newsroom stories in 2015.

Which of those resonated most with website readers? As we look back on the year, these are the 10 most viewed Newsroom stories …

10. Professor with expertise in social and health psychology joins Thiel College faculty

  • Aug. 25 / Kristel Gallagher, Ph.D., was one of six tenure-track professors who joined the faculty at the start of the 2015-16 academic year. Gallagher was named “Best Professor in Northeast PA” by Happenings magazine before coming to Thiel College. Her popularity was reflected in the interest this news generated.

9. Chart-topping country artist Craig Campbell to perform at Thiel College

  • March 23 / Craig Campbell’s music is recognizable from its use in HBO’s True Blood series and his two top 15 hits. Campbell’s country hits made his Thiel College concert details one of the most-viewed Newsroom items.

8. Eaton sends off Thiel College graduates with message ‘to make the world a better place’

  • May 3 / The Reverend Elizabeth A. Eaton, M.Div.—the first female presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America—was awarded an honorary doctorate during the 2015 Commencement. Her position as a respected and accomplished member of the clergy and her Commencement address message to students made this the eighth-most viewed release.

7. President VanAken announces public phase of largest capital campaign in College’s history

  • Oct. 8 / Thiel College President Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D., unveiled the public phase of the College’s most ambitious fundraising campaign in its 149-year history at the start of Homecoming 2015. At the Thiel 2016 Capital Campaign announcement, President VanAken said a school-record $55 million had been raised in the quiet phase and that support and interest showed in the views that pushed this release to No. 7.

6t.  Claussen appointed to prestigious Communication Department role and Noted Pittsburgh filmmaker Nugent joins faculty

  • July 16 & Aug. 7 / These two items were tied for sixth on the list. Dane Claussen, Ph.D., and Ross Nugent, M.F.A., joined the Department of Communication faculty at the start of the 2015-16 academic year. The appointments of a respected communication academic and critically-acclaimed regional filmmaker were the latest items of exciting news for a department that has been generating news since the James Pedas Communication Center opened in 2014.

4. Rod Wilt ’86 and his wife, Jill ’85, make historic gift to wrestling program

  • May 30 / What do you get when you combine a historic announcement with popular alumni and athletics? The fourth-most viewed Newsroom item. Thiel College became the first member of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference with an endowed coaching position when Rod ’86 and Jill (Gardner) Wilt ’85 gave $500,000 to endow the head wrestling coach position at the College.

3. Thiel College officials break ground for new track and field complex

  • May 28 / The May groundbreaking for the track and field facility was news that had both the campus community and alumni excited. When complete, the new facility will create competition and practice space and give all of Thiel’s athletic teams a home field on campus.

2. Matt Roloff, reality star of ‘Little People, Big World’, speaks at Thiel College

  • March 23 / Reality TV star Matt Roloff is best known for starring in the show Little People, Big World. Only one other Newsroom item was viewed more often than the details of Roloff’s speaking engagement at the College.

… and the most viewed story of 2015 was …

1. Thiel College ranked in top tier of U.S. News & World Report regional rankings

  • It is fitting that this item was the first release of 2015 because it was also first on the list of most-read Newsroom items. U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings had Thiel College among the best colleges in the North Region for 2015.

To stay current on campus news year-round, visit the Thiel College newsroom.

About Thiel College

Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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