Top News of 2021

Our news site is one of the most powerful and engaging ways that we tell the EMU story to a global audience. It’s the most-visited page on the EMU website. This year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 7, we recorded 260,816 total visitors. This includes an increase in new visitors (249,949 if you’re curious) and an increase in the length of time spent reading each article (2 minutes, 26 seconds is pretty amazing in our age of micro-attention spans).

These photos and articles are distributed to media channels, feed our social media handles, appear in other materials used for different audiences, and zoom around the world, courtesy of readers like you who are messengers of this good news.

Despite the emphasis on telling the stories of the amazing people that make up our community, the Dean’s List annually makes our most-read list. This is, as you know, literally a list of the names of those students who “get good grades” at EMU, but we know seeing that accolade in print is a powerful validation to our extended EMU community, those who love and support our students on their life journey.

You might also be interested in the Top Reads from the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and our Top Photos of 2021 collection.

Top Social Media

Our best posts that received the most engagement this year reflected much of the same content.

Instagram: Professor Mark Sawin and the kiddie pool office prank, move-in day, and Herm and Bernie.

Facebook: Professor Daniel Showalter’s teaching award, Professor Mark Sawin and the kiddie pool office prank, and graduation.

Twitter: Herm and Bernie, best buds.

Here’s a few screenshots of the “Best of EMU Socials.”


MOST READ and MOST COMMENTS: EMU’s inaugural LGBTQ+ Month event

An announcement of EMU’s October 2021 inaugural – and history-making – LGBTQ+ Month commemoration event generated two records: more than 2,360 reads and 61 comments. Executive Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Jackie Font-Guzmán noted in the release EMU’s harmful history, the beginning of the work towards holding and healing that harm, and that the event “represents the first time we are publicly acknowledging and celebrating LGBTQ+ history.” 

2. and 3. Goodbyes

This year, we shared the news of the deaths of EMU community members Nathan Longenecker and Terry Beitzel. Nathan was a first-year student when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. More than 1,750 readers were moved by his impact on his family, friends and community. Terry came to EMU as a master’s degree student with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and eventually pursued doctoral studies, but kept strong ties to EMU. Approximately 1,700 readers found and shared the article on Terry. These simple statistics are a moving reminder of the importance of and the power of sharing the stories of our community members and of how expansive and inclusive that community is.

4. New Leadership for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The  announcement of EMU’s new executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion Jackie Font-Guzmán earned 1,565 reads. Readers were interested in learning about her values and reasons for coming to EMU; the news blog was a great venue to help her share

5. U2 Romeo & Juliet

EMU Theater’s reputation means that production previews routinely make our Top Ten list and this year is no different.  In fall 2021, professors Justin Poole and Jerry Holsopple co-created and produced an amazing rock musical based on U2’s music and Shakespeare’s classic. The lengthy creative process included approval of a proposal by the iconic Irish rock band, a longtime proponent of the themes of peacebuilding and conflict resolution, which also granted rights to use the music for a lower fee than normal.

We recently updated this article with the news that the production earned multiple awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival: Certificates of Merit for Poole and Holsopple and fight choreographer Wolf Sherrill, as well as nominations for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition for Greta Schrag, Elizabeth Eby, Anna Hoover, and Andrew Stoltzfus. Eby was nominated for the MTI Musical Theater Intensive Audition as well.

Thanks to our “resident” theater correspondent Florence Barrett for this article.

6. Cords of Distinction

Our annual coverage of the ten seniors honored with Cords of Distinction earned 1,316 reads.

7. EMU TenTalks

One highlight of the annual Homecoming and Family Weekend celebration is TenTalks, a TED-talk-style event. Fall 2021 featured culinary entrepreneurs Oz Blackaller ‘06, Kirsten Moore ‘93, and Kaleb Wyse ‘10.  The preview article had 1,179 reads and it contained a link to 2015 news coverage of Kaleb’s appearance on “The Rachael Ray Show”, which ended up on our Top 20 list with 1,022 reads.

8. Welcome to New Faculty

Next on the list at 1,157 reads is a summer 2021 announcement of a talented new group of faculty. A similar article on Center for Justice and Peacebuilding faculty also made the CJP Top Reads list.

9. Yoder and Webb Scholars announcement

EMU awards several annual scholarships that cover full tuition which honor Carol and Paul R. Yoder Jr., 1963 graduates, and Ada Webb, one of the first African-American students to attend the university, and Margaret (Peggy) Webb who was the first African-American graduate in 1954. Total reads of this article landed at 1,071.

10. George Johnson ‘11

Coming in at the #10 spot with 998 reads was a profile of entrepreneur George Johnson ‘11, one of the stars of the 2010 team that advanced to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight (stay tuned for news on an upcoming February celebration to honor these alums). 

And once again, our All-Time Greatest Hit: Mark Loving on ‘Loving’

Now that we’ve reached the end of the Top Ten, we can break the news that once again, the true #1 is actually the 2016 article on Mark Loving and his great grandparents, earning 19,572 reads for 2021 and more than 65,200 hits since publication. 

Mark, then a sophomore, generously shared the story of his great-grandparents, Mildred and Richard Loving, as he and his family prepared to attend the Charlottesville world premiere of the movie “Loving.” June 12, the anniversary of their successful Supreme Court case to allow interracial marriage, is now celebrated widely in the United States (and around the world, as well). Mark graduated in 2019 and is pursuing his goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Special thanks to web analyst Joshua Lyons for all of this number-crunching.

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