Athletics

Campus happenings

Comments Off on Campus happenings Written on February 22nd, 2016 by
Categories: Athletics, Events, Newsletter, Students

MU ranked No. 2 on list of safest colleges, universities in Oregon

The 2016 Safest College Campuses national rankings, published by niche.com, are based on key statistics and student reviews.
Top-ranked colleges offer a safe and healthy environment with little or no campus crime, drugs and alcohol usage. “We watch out for each other and take care of each other,” said Director of Campus Safety Josh Harper. “This is a large part of making our campus safe to live, work and learn in.”

MU celebrates 10 years of providing free English classes to local immigrant communities

For 10 years, MU’s TESOL program has been offering free weekly ESL classes to its diverse neighbors. “ESL meets a practical need in our community,” says TESOL Director Kristyn Kidney. “It brings the world together through dialogue and friendship.”

Lions team up with Tim Tebow Foundation, local church for Night to Shine

The women’s basketball team joined with the Tim Tebow Foundation and Central Bible Church to present Night to Shine, a prom
for people with special needs. More than 100 churches around the world were chosen to host Night to Shine events on Friday, February 12, 2016.

Roger’s Café celebrates five years of coffee and community

Five years ago, students voted to name MU’s new coffee shop after Roger, a beloved community figure who has been cleaning tables, arranging napkins and befriending students as a faithful volunteer for more than 35 years. The café has been a irreplaceable fixture on campus ever since.

Students collect food for Giving Tuesday, donate proceeds to Oregon Food Bank

Through the month of November, students, faculty and staff added non-perishable foods to large white barrels stationed around campus. The food drive culminated in a celebratory chapel on Giving Tuesday (December 2), a globally celebrated day dedicated to giving back. The full barrels were then given to the Oregon Food Bank.

Lions team up with Tim Tebow Foundation, local church for Night to Shine

Comments Off on Lions team up with Tim Tebow Foundation, local church for Night to Shine Written on January 6th, 2016 by
Categories: Athletics, Events, Students

The MU women’s basketball team is used to collaborating on the court. But since their recent partnership with Central Bible Church and the Tim Tebow Foundation, the Lions are unifying to present Night to Shine, an unforgettable prom experience for people with special needs.

More than 100 churches around the world were chosen to simultaneously host Night to Shine events Friday, February 12, 2016. Central Bible was one of three churches in Oregon selected for the honor.

“This is so exciting because it’s such a unique chance to serve our community,” says Tim Bieri, who coaches women’s basketball at MU. “We’re honored to be part of shining Christ’s light in this way.”

As sponsor of Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Foundation will provide each host church with an instruction manual, financial support, individualized staff guidance, and a prom kit complete with decorations and gifts for attendees.

NightToShine

On the big night, guests will enter the church on a red carpet while friendly paparazzi snap photos. Inside, volunteers will provide VIP treatment: hair, makeup and corsages for the girls, and shoe shining and boutonnieres for the boys. Karaoke and dancing will round out the evening. During the crowning ceremony, every attendee will be declared prom king or prom queen.

But something more than the glittery tiaras, shimmery dresses and spiffy shoes will shine on that night. God’s love will be gleaming, reflected by the many volunteers who have poured their hearts into this special event.

During Night to Shine 2015, 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers worked together to honor more than 7,000 people with special needs. This year, host churches worldwide are expected to serve more than 20,000 prom kings and queens. At Central Bible Church, a minimum of 100 volunteers will work with more than 75 guests.

WBasketballTeam

A production of this size will require some dedicated workers. Fortunately, the basketball team is no stranger to commitment. The Lions are wholly responsible for planning and organizing the event, which includes coordinating vendors, sending invitations and reminders, managing volunteers and donations, and setting up and tearing down decorations.

Even though their lives are brimming with basketball, school and jobs, the women are enthusiastic to tackle this new mission. “It’s a challenge for us as a team,” says sophomore Michaela Weller. “But it’s pushing us out of our comfort zone, and that’s important. It’s a blessing to be a part of God’s work in this.”

Valerie Wakefield agrees. “It’s a great opportunity to work with Central Bible and other churches in the area,” says the sophomore. “One of my favorite things is seeing so many people come together as the body of Christ.”

The Lions didn’t make it to the playoffs this year, so they’ve deemed Night to Shine their championship game. For Nicole Verrett, the prom is a more impactful opportunity in comparison. “It’s something that will last,” says the senior. “I think (the guests) will know that people care about them and want to serve them.”

If you want to volunteer for Night to Shine, contact Tim Bieri at 503.251.6463 or tbieri@multnomah.edu.

Psychology graduate Erik Mendoza takes his skills to Adidas

Comments Off on Psychology graduate Erik Mendoza takes his skills to Adidas Written on June 25th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Athletics, Press Releases, Students

A Multnomah degree won’t just qualify you for a rewarding career and equip you for grad school — it will set you apart as a redeeming force in the workplace. Erik Mendoza’s experience at MU provided a solid foundation for his future, and the principles he took from the classroom — and the basketball court — continue to inspire him.

The psychology major thrived while playing for the Lions. He served three years as team captain and was awarded the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, an annual honor given to the nation’s most outstanding NCCAA Division II athlete. He also volunteered with his teammates at a local children’s hospital and even traveled with them on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan.

“Those experiences make the basketball team more than a basketball team,” Mendoza says. “If you stick around, you’ll come out a better and stronger person.”

Upon graduating, Mendoza was hired by one of the world’s top sports brands: Adidas. Now he’s a retail marketing specialist for the company’s basketball, baseball and football divisions.

“My psychology degree taught me so much about how people work, and translating that into marketing hasn’t been hard,” he says. “I love my job. Multnomah challenged me academically and gave me the ability to work and perform at a high level. At the same time, it instilled in me a genuine love for people.”

Erik_soccerfield

Basketball team touches lives in Taiwan

Coach Curt Bickley shares the details of the Lions' mission trip to Taiwan. 

The Multnomah Basketball team flew to Taipei, Taiwan, on May 9 and spent the week playing basketball games and sharing the Gospel. Thank you to all our donors who made this trip happen. We were able to share the Gospel publicly 11 times during the week.

The Team

IMG_0242

Our team was made up of three current MU basketball players, five former players, a high school coach (Chad Bickley), an NBA coach (Mike Penberthy), two coaching assistants (Mike Farrington and Stan Bickley), and four kids (two were Penberthy’s and two were Bickley’s).

Games

IMG_0235

We played nine games in six days. At each game, we were able to share the Gospel with the other team and their fans at halftime or through literature written in Mandarin. All the teams were very open to listening to the mission of our trip.

Bethany Christian School

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We visited Bethany on Tuesday morning and ran the school chapel. I introduced the team and spoke about what a relationship with God looks like. I was able to use the example of brother, son, father, mentor, and friend – all members of our team.

The school was doing a fund raiser to replace their gym floor. Each class adopted one of our players and acquired pledges for the number of free throws their player could make in two minutes. As part of an action-packed hour with the K-9th graders that day, Chad Bickley hit 62 free throws, Mike Penberthy hit 61, and Blake Updike hit 55.

Taichung Elderly Home Visit

On Wednesday, we traveled to Taichung to play two games and visit the elderly as we have done in the past. Our guys divided up and spent time individually with the elderly and then my Dad and I spoke to the group. We had a great time seeing our friends again.

We also visited and played a game at Morrison Academy. Morrison’s best player from last year, Andy Brown, will be joining Multnomah's basketball team next year.

Love Life Basketball Game

Love life

Saturday night was a special treat for everyone as we played the SBL All Star Team (Taiwan Pro League). The game was meant to raise awareness and money for kids with cancer — and to raise awareness of cyber bullying, as a local celebrity had recently committed suicide after being bullied.

We knew from experience that the place was going to be packed, and it was. We did not win the game (the score was 100-124), but we had a great time, and the event provided a chance to share the gospel — our missionary Uwe Mauer shared the Good News at halftime.

Tian Mu Grace Church

church

Our team was able to share with Tian Mu Grace Church on Sunday morning during the main church service and during Sunday School. It was a great time of fellowship with these believers in Taipei.

Thank You

blake coopWe would like to conclude by thanking all those who played a part in making this trip happen. My brother Brad Bickley worked with me for the fifth time in Taiwan so that our basketball team could make things happen all week.

Our missionaries – Rex Manu, Dan Long, Garett Freeman and Uwe Mauer – did a great job of helping us set up and execute a great game plan.

Kenny Cheng took care of us in many ways; he is a tremendous friend to Multnomah University and our basketball program.

Our interpeters Tony Tsau and his friends helped us at all our locations.

I would also like to thank all of you who supported us financially. This trip would not have happened without you.

— Coach Bickley 

 

‘Our outreach is extensive’: Students volunteer down the street, across the world

Collectively, Multnomah students provide more than 38,000 hours to communities each year — and their contributions span the globe.

They serve as role models for at-risk teens in Portland. They partner with nonprofit agencies in the greater community. And this Friday, the men’s basketball team is heading to Taiwan for a trip filled with service projects, community outreach and basketball games.

The Lions will compete in nine games, including Lovelife, a high-profile annual event that raises awareness and money for children with cancer. Teammates will present the Good News during each half-time.

“This trip is important because it’s an exceptional opportunity to share the gospel,” says sophomore business major Tanner Schula. “God has blessed us with the platform of basketball for ministry. Through basketball, we can first connect with the Taiwanese on a personal basis — and then share Christ.”

During the nine-day trip, the Lions will visit several schools, churches and an assisted living facility.

“It’s exciting that a small Christian school can have such a large capacity for ministry,” says Schula, “This trip displays Multnomah’s expansive reach.”

‘What Multnomah is all about’

Head Basketball Coach Curt Bickley puts a heavy emphasis on outreach and community service; he’s led his teams on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan for the past seven years. This is the fifth time the Lions are traveling to Taiwan.

“We’re looking forward to seeing old friends, spreading the Gospel, and playing basketball in a great place,” says Bickley. “It’s very exciting that our university has such an emphasis on mission work and that we get to take part in such a great trip.”

The athletes don’t stop serving when they’re back in the States. For the past eight years, the Lions have hosted a free basketball clinic for children at a Native American reservation in Washington. The clinic gives the team an opportunity to impart their skills — and share their faith. “Kids have gotten saved at these events,” says Bickley.

The Lions also volunteer at Providence Children’s Hospital, just down the street from campus. The athletes connect with boy and girls, some of them terminally ill, for a few hours each week. They play games, read, color or just talk.

“Our outreach is extensive,”says Bickley. “This team reflects what Multnomah is all about.”

Communicating values through action

The trip to Taiwan closely follows another service event Multnomah has observed for decades — Day of Outreach. Once every spring and fall, students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community in need of their time and energy. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit organization, a school, a community center. Even a neighbor’s home. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

Senior psychology major Brenna Coy has been attending Day of Outreach since she transferred to MU as a sophomore. “Volunteering encourages me and other students to reach out to our neighborhood,” she says. “It builds bridges in the community.”

Theology and philosophy professor Dr. Mike Gurney agrees. He appreciates the opportunity to impact local organizations while interacting with students outside the classroom. Multnomah requires half of its professors to participate in each Day of Outreach event.

“As Christians, it’s not just about what we say; it’s also about what we do,” he says. “We want to communicate our values through action.”

One fall, Gurney and Coy joined a group of student volunteers at Portland Metro Arts (PMA), a nonprofit community arts organization in Southeast Portland. For several hours they dusted, wiped, polished and swept.

Nancy Yeamans, PMA’s executive director, supervised as students bustled around her. A vacuum hummed in the background, and the smell of Windex hung in the air.

“I know you think that cleaning is probably not a big deal,” she said. “But to us it’s a huge deal because we rely a lot on volunteers. It’s meaningful beyond what you can imagine.”

‘We need to love people’

Besides international trips and Day of Outreach, students participate year-round in Service Learning, a campus-based program that connects them with local nonprofits. Students volunteer weekly at more than 70 organizations across the Portland metro area. They also gain priceless wisdom from field specialists who double as mentors.

“We’re committed to helping students integrate what they’re learning in the classroom with real life,” says Service Learning Director Dr. Roger Trautmann. “Whatever service God puts on their hearts is a possibility. From skateboarding to helping the homeless, from children’s ministry to working with seniors, we can connect them with more than 1,500 churches, ministries and service organizations.”

Sophomore Bible and theology major Katie Mansanti says Service Learning connected her to Adorned in Grace Design Studio, an outreach to at-risk teen girls in Northeast Portland. People donate all kinds of fabrics to the nonprofit, where volunteers like Mansanti teach the girls how to sew. The studio aims to prevent sex trafficking by empowering young women to become advocates on behalf of their sisters and friends.

Volunteers provide snacks, help with homework, offer workshops, run a mentorship program and lead a Bible study. “This is a safe place for them to hang out after school and have someone to talk to,” Mansanti says.

Mansanti’s knack for sewing and heart for teens was a perfect fit for the studio. “It’s nice to take something that’s second nature to me and share it with these girls,” she says. “We all need someone to nudge us along and tell us we’re doing a good job.”

Volunteering may be a time commitment for students, but Mansanti doesn’t see it as a burden. “Service Learning allows you to give back,” she says. “Helping people is important to God. We need to love people and be Jesus to them.”

‘God is on the move’: MU launches new programs, opens more doors for students

Comments Off on ‘God is on the move’: MU launches new programs, opens more doors for students Written on April 14th, 2015 by
Categories: Athletics, Programs, Students

As summer approaches and students glimpse relaxation on the horizon, MU isn't slowing down. In fact, we're launching several initiatives and exciting opportunities that will enhance the student experience for years to come.

"God is definitely on the move at Multnomah University," says Vice President of Advancement Steve Cummings. "Blessing after blessing keeps arriving. More and more students are realizing that MU will prepare them for a meaningful career and saturate them in God’s Word, no matter how they choose to make a kingdom impact."

Here are the latest academic programs, news items and distinctions:

Accounting concentration

Bernie_featureimageIn fall 2015, MU will launch an accounting concentration under its business program that will prepare students for employment in the field of accounting as well as ready them for the Certified Management Accountant Exam and the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam. The program will also provide a significant portion of the requirements necessary to sit for the CPA exams.

Business & Organizational Psychology degree

studying_featureimageMU will launch a business & organizational psychology degree in fall 2015. Graduates will utilize their training to create business policies and methodologies with the goal of improving the organization’s ability to better meet the expectations of its customers and stakeholders.

Biology degree

MU plans to offer a biology degree in fall 2016. More details to come.

Global Studies degree

rachel_mainMU’s intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. Students will specialize in one of four new concentrations:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture & Diversity
  • Global Ministry

Summit (a five-year B.A./M.Div. degree)

summit2_featureimageMultnomah is launching Summit, a five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity program. Summit students will save more than $41,000 in tuition, cut their time in school by two years and receive a Summit Scholarship. The program will launch in fall 2015 thanks to a $565,000 grant from The Kern Family Foundation.

Fully online undergraduate and seminary degrees

FallGrad2014_featureimageStarting in fall 2015, MU will be offering the following programs fully online:

AAOT acceptance

The Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree now satisfies all MU freshman and sophomore general education requirements.

NAIA approval

Athletics Banner BlogThe Lions have joined the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC), which is considered to be one of the top small-college athletic associations in the country. The CCC is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Each year, more than 60,000 student-athletes in the NAIA compete in 13 sports and 23 national championships.

Track and field

CrossCountry_thumb2Multnomah will launch a track and field program in spring of 2016.

Giving record

Multnomah has seen a record year in giving: 2014-2015 were met with the highest number of donations MU has accepted in the past five years.

Learn More

Contact Admissions at 503.251.6485 or admissions@multnomah.edu for more information.

Multnomah makes history with acceptance into NAIA, Cascade Conference

Comments Off on Multnomah makes history with acceptance into NAIA, Cascade Conference Written on April 14th, 2015 by
Categories: Athletics, Faculty, Students

PORTLAND, Ore. – Multnomah University is excited to announce that it has been accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC). This is a historic achievement for MU because the NAIA is the largest sports association the institution has been involved with since the University’s establishment in 1936.

I am thrilled that MU has been accepted into the NAIA and the CCC,” Athletic Director Lois Vos said. “This historic time is directly related to the hard work each person has invested in MU to make it an athletic department that stands for excellence and for making it the best experience we can for the student athlete. We are truly blessed!” Vos has been serving at Multnomah for 26 years, and she said this is the most significant development during her tenure as athletic director.

The NAIA oversees sports programs at more than 260 small colleges and universities. The student athlete is the center of the NAIA experience, and the organization is dedicated to character development. Each year, more than 60,000 student-athletes in the NAIA compete in 13 sports and 23 national championships.

The premier Christian education fostered at Multnomah, combined with the Champions of Character program developed and promoted by the NAIA, establishes a perfect environment in which Lion athletes can flourish,” said David Lee, MU’s cross country and track and field coach. “We are thrilled that the NAIA, with its caring-for-people history, has included us as a member. MU's coaching team is encouraged at this announcement and will be strengthened by joining ranks with some of America's finest coaches.” Lee coached in the NAIA and CCC for 13 years before joining MU.

The CCC has evolved into one of the NAIA’s most formidable leagues. It sanctions championship competition for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, and track and field, along with baseball for men and softball and volleyball for women.

Multnomah joins CCC member schools College of Idaho, Concordia University, Corban University, Eastern Oregon University, The Evergreen State College, Northwest University, Northwest Christian University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University, Walla Walla University and Warner Pacific College.

“On behalf of CCC, we congratulate Multnomah University on their acceptance to the NAIA,” Commissioner Robert Cashell stated. “Director of Athletics Lois Vos and her staff worked tirelessly the last 10 months in preparation for this historic day for MU athletics. We  look forward to a long and positive relationship with MU as we welcome our friends to the league as official members.”

“This is an extremely exciting time for Multnomah University,” said Curt Bickley, who coaches men’s basketball for the Lions. “Personally, I did not think I would ever see this day, but now that it is here, I am fired up about the potential and possibilities for our institution, and specifically for our basketball program.”

About Multnomah Athletics
Multnomah Athletics began in the 1950s with men’s basketball and expanded to include women's volleyball in the 1960s. In 2014, MU added six new programs (men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf) and now features 10 teams with the recent addition of men’s and women’s track and field. Before joining the NAIA, Multnomah competed in the National Christian College Athletic Association.

About Multnomah University
Multnomah University is a fully accredited, private, non-denominational, Christian institution of higher education located in Portland, Oregon, with teaching sites in Reno, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, degree completion program and online distance-learning program, Multnomah issues bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements. For more information, visit multnomah.edu.

You’re invited to MU’s free 2015 Athletics Alumni Day

Comments Off on You’re invited to MU’s free 2015 Athletics Alumni Day Written on January 13th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Athletics

On Saturday, February 14, Multnomah Athletics is hosting a special Athletics Alumni Day to celebrate all past and current MU athletes.

This event is free, and everyone – alumni, students, staff and faculty – is invited and encouraged to bring friends, family, neighbors, youth groups and anyone else who will enjoy the day.

Come prepared to dive into 11 hours packed with games, competition, camaraderie and lots of fun. No RSVP necessary. Contact Coach Tim Bieri at tbieri@multnomah.edu for more info.

2015 Athletics Alumni Day Schedule

9:00 AM

  • Multnomah Community Run/Walk
  • Sponsored by the Multnomah University Cross Country Team
  • 5 kilometer course on paved streets ($10 onsite)
  • Start and finish in front of MU gym
  • Doors to gym lobby open at 8:00 AM
  • Dog’s & strollers welcomed
  • 2 water stations provided
  • Special Valentine's Day prizes

11:00 AM

  • Volleyball Alumni Mixer & Scrimmage
  • Volleyball alumni are invited to come mix and play with the current MU volleyball team.
  • Bring your knee-pads and a smile.

1:00 PM

  • Basketball Alumni Open Gym
  • Basketball alumni are invited to come enjoy some friendly games of full-court 5 on 5.

3:00 PM

  • Men’s Basketball JV vs Mt. Angel Seminary

5:00 PM

  • Women’s Basketball vs TBD

7:00 PM

  • Men’s Basketball vs Northwest Indian College
  • At half-time we will be honoring:

> 1996 Men's Basketball National Championship Team
> Nathan Meeker - the 2014 NCCAA DII Men's Cross Country National Champion

GET A FREE HOT DOG AND NACHOS WITH THE PURCHASE* OF ADMISSION!

*MU Students, Staff, & Alumni get in for FREE. Regular price of Admission: Adults $7 - Kids (6-12) $2 - Seniors $5

‘Keep going’: Sindy Larson races to nationals

Comments Off on ‘Keep going’: Sindy Larson races to nationals Written on November 11th, 2014 by
Categories: Athletics, Students

CrossCountry_thumbCross country is more than a sport to Sindy Larson. It’s a reflection of her spiritual journey. “Running helps me understand my walk with the Lord,” she says. “You need to be committed to it. We have to keep going through the pain.”

Larson has only been at MU a few months, but she’s positive she picked the right place to race. When the Orange County native was looking at colleges, she was impressed by Multnomah’s mission statement: equipping students to be biblically competent, academically proficient, spiritually formed and culturally engaged servant leaders. And when she visited, the campus community left a lasting impression.

“MU is Christ-centered,” says Larson. “We’re learning how to love the Lord, we’re praying in our classes and we’re seeing God’s work through our instructors. I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life.”

‘Keeping our focus on the Lord’

For Larson, who ran competitively in high school, joining MU’s cross country team was icing on the cake. She began training with the Lions this summer and in September qualified for the NCCAA Cross Country National Championships. Larson is first woman from Multnomah to compete in the national race, which will take place in Houghton, N.Y., this Saturday. The men’s cross country team, which also qualified for nationals, will be joining her, along with Cross Country Coach David Lee.

“Coach Lee took us as we were and helped us grow from there,” says Larson. “He challenges us to be better. He’s so good at motivating us and keeping our focus on the Lord.”

‘Connecting deeply’

Concentrating on God is exactly what defines Larson’s cross country experience. She uses her lengthy runs as opportunities — quiet times — to connect with him through prayer. Her teammates only enhance the bond. “Being a part of this team has heightened my experience of the Lord,” Larson says. “Their encouragement has taught me so much about God’s love. I’m really grateful to be a part of this.”

When Larson isn’t running, she’s immersing herself in everything else MU has to offer, including thought-provoking classes and supportive friendships. “The academics are very challenging,” she says. “This community has been really good for me. Connecting deeply with other students has been a joy. And the faculty’s brotherly and sisterly love for us is so cool to see.”

‘Experiencing true life’

In the meantime, Larson is getting excited for her big race on Saturday. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” she says. “It’s exciting that our school gets to move up in competition, and I hope it motivates more people to come to MU and be in this Christ-centered environment.

“You experiencing true life within this community, whether it’s with your team, teachers or students. It’s helping me understand what it means to be a part of God’s kingdom.”

National Award Caps Remarkable College Experience

Erik Mendoza has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember. Like most kids, he learned the basics from dad in his front driveway. But unlike most kids, Mendoza began attending the Chicago Bulls Training Academy when he was 8. It was the '90s in Chicago. The Bulls were heroes; Michael Jordan was a king.

Mendoza, a die-hard Jordan fan, stayed at the academy until he was 15. After playing all four years of high school, he was ready to compete at the college level. A small school didn't appeal to him. He definitely wasn't planning on going to Multnomah.

erik_main‘Jesus has changed my life’

Mendoza’s step-dad and step-grandfather had attended MU. They had great things to say about the close-knit school in Portland. So despite some misgivings, Mendoza decided to visit.

Ultimately, it was the people that won him over.

"I was excited to move out West," he said. "And I had this curiosity about my faith."

Mendoza had been raised in the Church, but he was uncertain about what he'd learned there. Things changed when he moved onto campus his first year.

"When I came to MU, I was tired of an empty life," he said. Four years later, Mendoza is a different man. "Jesus has changed my life," he said. "He has given me so much peace."

Mendoza was also given endless opportunities to mature as an athlete and a Christ follower. His heart for others did not go unnoticed: This year, he was honored with the Pete Maravich Memorial Award, a national honor that annually recognizes an outstanding NCCAA senior who has shown excellence in competition, skill, academics and service.

‘I didn’t want to leave’

A year into Multnomah, Mendoza wasn't sure he was going to stay. He had developed a strong interest in business and marketing. At the time, MU had yet to launch its business program, so Mendoza considered transferring to a different school. He couldn't do it.

"I had made such good relationships here," he said. "I didn't want to leave."

The more he spoke to people about his interest in marketing, the more he felt a pull toward a psychology degree. Ultimately, he decided he could stay at MU and work toward the business world.

‘I've learned so much’

And that's exactly what Mendoza has done. During his sophomore year, he began working as a product tester for one of the world's top sports brands, Adidas. Every couple months, he'd take a pair of prototype shoes home and "wear the heck out of them." Over the next several months, Mendoza would take detailed notes on how the shoes felt, performed and stood up to countless hours in the court. Then he’d submit his observations to Adidas before starting the process all over again.

After two years of testing shoes, Mendoza interned in the product development department. The rapport he's built with Adidas, coupled with the experience he's gained at MU, has opened several doors for him. Since graduating in May, Adidas has hired him as a full-time retail marketing specialist for its basketball, baseball and football divisions.

"I have no marketing experience," Mendoza said. "But through earning my psychology degree, I've learned so much about how people work. To translate that into marketing has not been that hard; it's actually given me a boost in how I view marketing."

Mendoza hasn't only learned how people think, he's also come to appreciate others more than ever. His second major, Bible & Theology, has helped him do that. "I love the layout of the program — that you get to go through the whole Bible in four years," he said. "And I appreciated the teaching. The professors are fantastic; they make it such a strong program, and they relate the Bible to real life."

erik_slider

A better and stronger person’

But it's the basketball team that's been the driving force in Mendoza's life these past four years.

"The team was the catalyst for me being at this school, learning what I've learned," he said. "It was always the one constant thing in my life."

Mendoza thrived while playing for the Lions. He served as team captain for three years. Basketball coach Curt Bickley puts a heavy emphasis on missions and community service; he's accompanied Mendoza and his team on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan. Mendoza has also volunteered, alongside his teammates, at Providence Children's Hospital for the past four years.

"All these things make the basketball team more than a basketball team," he said. "Coach Bickley is a fantastic role model. He creates men. He'll be blunt with you. But if you stick around, you'll come out a better and stronger person. He's one of the people here who has impacted me the most."

‘It’s been a good four years’

It was because of Bickley that Erik was nominated for the Pete Maravich Memorial Award.

"It never crossed my mind that I'd be nominated," Mendoza said. But Bickley had been impressed by Mendoza's growth during his time at MU, and he recommended him to the group of coaches that determines the award-winner.

The coaches voted for Mendoza.

When Bickley called him with the news, Mendoza was shocked. "I hadn't known I was even nominated until he called me and told me I'd won," he said. "I was pretty blown away."

The award seemed to come at the perfect time.

"I had been really anxious and scared about my basketball career ending, and I was trying to ignore it," he said. "It was bittersweet — but amazing — to see how God wrapped up my time here: The season came to an end, I made my last shot and then I found out about the award.

"I felt like it was God's way of saying, 'You've done a good job here, but it doesn't have to be sad. It's been a good four years, but it's time to move on to the next phase.'"