Langley, British Columbia—While it’s a notable accomplishment to secure a full university scholarship, it’s rare for a married couple to earn two scholarships of that calibre to the same university. But Trinity Western University graduates Dave and Danaya MacDonald have done just that. The couple will celebrate their first anniversary this September, and both have earned full scholarships for their first year of studies at John Brown University in Arkansas where they will begin their masters’ degrees this fall.
Dave will earn a Masters in Business Administration, while Danaya will earn a Masters of Science, both with a focus in leadership and ethics. One day a week they will attend classes, while the remainder of the week they will put classroom principles into action as assistants at the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics. The Soderquist Center is a non-profit organization located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas and is affiliated with John Brown University.
“We wanted to do something together,” says Dave, who graduated in 1998 with an honours degree in English and served as a resident director at TWU this past year. “So when we found that we could do masters programs, teach leadership and work on a team together to make a difference in the lives of people, what more could we ask for?”
Danaya will assist the director for experiential learning, promoting team-building programs for high school and undergraduate groups coming through the Soderquist Center. Dave will work with the director of corporate education, assessing the leadership needs of various companies and then tailoring programs to improve their team dynamics and group efficiency.
“This area of Arkansas is like an industrial heartland, so it’s a great place to connect in business spheres,” explains Dave. “John Brown University and the Soderquist Center are very connected with all kinds of multinational corporations and they want people who understand servant leadership and want to make a difference.”
Dave notes that the staff and faculty in Arkansas looked highly upon the leadership curriculum the MacDonalds had taken at TWU, but were even more impressed with the student leadership experience they had. Dave complemented his academic education with positions such as resident assistant, student body president, and intern for TWU President Neil Snider. During her studies, Danaya served as a member of TWU’s student orientation staff and later as the co-ordinator of that group. She also worked as a peer career assistant in TWU’s Career Centre.
“I think Trinity Western teaches a ton about analyzing your worldview and what it means to be a leader in all marketplaces of life,” says Danaya, who graduated with a Bachelor’s of Education in 2001 and went on to teach math at Robert Bateman Secondary School in Abbotsford. “That was a recurring theme throughout our student leadership positions—we learned to serve and lead at the same time.”
And while most students pursue a graduate degree to narrow the focus of their studies, Danaya views their upcoming experiences as just the opposite. “My hope is that this degree will lead to jobs that are more unique,” she says. “I love that it’s so broad, because it leaves us open to any options that might come along.”
Dave adds, “We’re going to connect with leaders on a global scale, so an opportunity like this opens up new doors everywhere.”
As for future plans, the MacDonalds anticipate a return to the Vancouver area. “But then again,” says Danaya, “we never imagined we’d go to Arkansas!”
Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,000 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.
Last Updated: 2007-09-26