Share a message for the Reynders

Submit a video tribute to John and Robin, or share a written memory or thank you. Responses will be compiled and shared with the Reynders below.

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Video Message

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In your recording, be sure to include:

  1. your name
  2. your graduation year (if applicable)
  3. your connection to Morningside
  4. where you are from
  5. and a message to the Reynders


Written Message

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Messages for the Reynders

Reynders messages Kent Watkins with President Reynders showing Olympic medal at Lewis Park tennis courts

"Hi John and Robin, under your outstanding leadership, I was able to contribute, through the Kent Watkins Fund, two dream projects to enhance the legacy of your Presidency: the digitization of the complete Collegian Reporter archives and the Sioux yearbooks. Although these were conceptualized during the time of one of your predecessors, Miles Tommeraasen, the projects accelerated and successfully emerged as a result of your able staff - Joel Weyland, Kari Bull, Fred Erbes, and Adam Fullerton. I will always remember and appreciate your enthusiastic support for these 'gifts' to future generations of alumni, faculty, and staff. They will stand as tall as the physical buildings you added to the campus. And to top it off, a recent trip for Homecoming permitted me to create another wonderful memory, with your involvement. Before the football game, you and I stood on the nearby cement tennis courts that were being used that day for the food court extravaganza. I pointed out that I remembered when the courts were clay and I shared with you the photo of me posing in my Morningside tennis team jacket on those courts in early Springtime before the clay had been treated. I then asked if we could have a present-day photo taken with the Maryland Senior Olympics medal I had just won for the tennis singles category, which would send me to the National Senior Olympics that year. You immediately obliged me with that request and I am forever grateful! See attachments. In closing, I know that both of you will not be content to 'retire', given your energies and desire to create and enhance opportunities for the younger generations. Let me know how I can help in any way!"

Best wishes, Kent Watkins '58

Reynders messages Kent Watkins tennis pose on lewis courts

Congratulations, John and Robin!

The growth and increased status of Morningside University has been a joy to watch from afar these past 20 years.

Please, John, keep mentoring and lifting up others to be leaders in higher education administration. Your wisdom, insights and experience are priceless.

Best wishes in retirement.

Janet Philipp
Aurora, CO

Hi John and Robin

Morningside surely picked a winner when they picked you John! Reading about all the struggles little liberal arts schools are currently having, my mind goes immediately to the magnificent turn-around you oversaw at Morningside. When I lived back in Sioux City briefly in 2001 and 2002, it was such a pleasure to meet you and to work with Gene on the Alumni Board. The college was just at the beginning of it's phoenix-like rise then but I could see great things were coming. I wish the two of you a long and happy retirement and can't thank you enough for your care and leadership for a place I'll always love. All the best!

Kent Boyer '77
Cresco, IA

What a privilege it was to serve on the search committee that helped bring you to Morningside! While none of us knew how dire the straights were for Morningside we did know that Morningside was at an important crossroads and that bold a leader was absolutely essential to the future existence of our college. Thank you for your courage and how you have continually challenged us as a Board of Directors as well as faculty and staff to face the realities of Morningside’s challenges and brought excitement to its possibilities and opportunities. But even more important is your love for our students. It has always been perfectly clear that you haven’t desired to be successful during your presidency in order to become president of a more prestigious college or university. You have wanted to be successful in order for our students to have the best education possible and to launch them into a life of learning and service. Being a graduate myself of Morningside and coming from a family of several graduates I cannot begin to capture in words what an education from Morningside has meant to my life after having been raised in extreme poverty and limited possibilities. Your presidency has demonstrated that Morningside continues to open up the world to persons from all stations in life. As a student I remember sitting in Roadman Lounge and watching members of the Board of Directors pass by on the sidewalk and thinking would I ever have the privilege of serving on the Board. The only way for me to describe this experience is by exclaiming “What a privilege it has been to be a Board member for almost thirty years!” Robin and you have blest the lives of innumerable students and those of us who have had this privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of Morningside University. May God continue to bless both of you as you are about to enter into a new stage of your lives. Thank you for sharing who you are with us in the Morningside University family.

Blessings, Bob Burkhart '70
Indianola, IA

John and Robin...

I will NEVER be able to thank you both for all of your hard work, dedication and vision. You have changed and improved the lives of so every student, staff, alum and faculty. I know in my heart that without your plans and drive to achieve them we would be closed. Every decision that was made was ALWAYS with our student's best interest in mind. What a legacy you have left!!! Such an amazing is nothing short of a miracle...behind Lewis Hall used to be a parking lot!!! You have improved EVERY area of the campus and have left us on a financially stable ground. I will never be able to thank you both enough for loving Morningside University and making it a place we are all proud of. I wish you the best in your retirements.

Char (Beckwith) Jorgensen
Sioux City, IA

President Reynders,

First of all, congratulations on your retirement. Secondly, a huge thank you goes out to you and Robin for your compassion and dedication to the students and families, faculty and staff, alumni and community of Morningside. You truly embodied every component of being a leader and anyone who knew you, knew how much Morningside meant to you. Thanks for your countless hours at events and good luck in the future.

Lisa (Cunningham) d'Auguste
Anthon, IA