Rochester Christian University


53rd annual Partnership Dinner highlights RCU heritage and community

April 25, 2024

The Rochester Christian University community gathered for the institution’s annual Partnership Dinner on April 20. 

Sponsored by Chief Financial Credit Union, the dinner raises funds for student scholarships and is the institution’s largest fundraiser each year.

RCU students and donors pose for a quick photo during Partnership Dinner.

Que Morgan ‘17, president of the RCU Alumni Association, opened the program by welcoming guests to the Royal Park Hotel and sharing some of his own RCU story. Morgan began working for General Motors after graduating and now is an assistant marketing development manager. He credited his time at Rochester Christian University for preparing him for his work at GM. 

Que Morgan ‘17 welcomes guests on behalf of the RCU Alumni Association.

Then, Dr. Brian Stogner, president, addressed the recent change in the institution’s name to Rochester Christian University, which highlights RCU’s roots in its Christian heritage.

Dr. Brian Stogner, president of Rochester Christian University, addresses guests

Following Stogner’s remarks, a video was played sharing the story of Rochester Christian University. The video highlighted the institution’s Church of Christ background, alumni stories, and the mission and vision of RCU. 

That video can be viewed here.

Guests then heard from two current students, Danielle Castillo and Joshua Grow, on their journey as students. 

Danielle Castillo,a senior mass communication student, is legally blind and grew up in a sheltered environment without access to outside resources. 

“Transitioning from homeschool to a university was not easy for me. But at RCU, the faculty and staff are fantastic. They go out of their way to answer questions, explain material or just listen. When my leader dog retired last semester, I had lost that extra support. The community here stepped up to fill that void,” Castillo said. 

Castillo also credited the scholarships that RCU has provided her to be able to attend college. 

“And since I would be covering my school expenses, the scholarships RCU offered were important to me. Without them, I’d never be able to afford to go to college.”

Castillo was joined by Lora Hutson, associate professor of mass communication and Shield Media adviser. 

Lora Hutson introduces Danielle Castillo, who then shared how RCU has impacted her life.

Joshua Grow, a junior financial planning student, shared his journey along with Dr. Jason Van Duyn, president of Aquest Wealth Strategies, a local financial planning business.

“One night while serving a table at Kruse and Muer, I overheard a conversation at a different  table about soccer, and joined in. I later found out that I was talking to the then head soccer coach at RCU and he offered me a try out. After two practices and a meeting, I was offered a  scholarship,” Grow said.  

After coming to Rochester Christian University, Grow gained an internship at Van Duyn’s financial planning firm, and he will have full-time employment following his graduation in 2025.

Van Duyn is the first donor to fully sponsor a program at Rochester Christian University. The Van Duyn Financial Planning program currently has 18 students in its first year of existence. 

Joshua Grow shares his student-athlete experience at RCU during Partnership Dinner.
Dr. Jason Van Duyn shares about the new Van Duyn Financial Planning program at RCU

Kelly Garrett ‘06 was named the Alumna of the Year as she continues her son, Chandler’s, legacy through philanthropic gifts to the university. 

Chandler Gibson was a student at RCU for just over a month before his passing in October 2021 of Sickle Cell Anemia. Garrett was so touched by the amount of support she received from the RCU community, and she wanted to give back and honor her son’s memory. Garrett has raised over $60,000 for the Chandler Gibson Memorial Fund, which benefited its first inaugural recipient this year. 

Kelly Garrett with Dr. Brian Stogner, Que Morgan and Luke Fleer, vice president of development and alumni relations.

Then, Bob Goff, the New York Times bestselling author of “Love Does,” took the stage as the featured speaker of the night. 

Goff spoke on loving your neighbor and encouraged donors to continue their stewardship with Rochester Christian University. 

“I wanna see folks come to Rochester Christian and then launch into these beautiful ambitions to take the next step on their adventure. Don’t you? I think that’s why we’re all here tonight,” Goff said.

Bob Goff told stories of building a girls’ school in Afghanistan, his childhood, and how the power of love changes lives.

If you were unable to attend Partnership Dinner, but would like to help student scholarships, click below to make a donation. 

photos by Alyxander LaBranche