Lindenwood Magazine - Spring / Summer 2019

LINDENWOOD UNIVERSITY Lindenwood SPORTS 10 HE LINDENWOOD GYMNASTICS TEAM HAS ONLY BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR SEVEN YEARS AND HAS MADE HISTORY YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT. In 2019 the team did so again, becoming just the third NCAA Division II gymnastics program to qualify for an NCAA Regional. Lindenwood joins Bridgeport (2013) and Seattle Pacific (1988) as the only non-Division I institutions to qualify for an NCAA Regional. The Lions will were selected to the Baton Rouge Regional against power-5 conference members LSU, Auburn, George Washington, and Arizona. All five teams in the regional were ranked in the top 30 in the country while Lindenwood ended the season ranked No. 36. The gymnastics program started competing in 2013 and has completed seven seasons of competition. No gymnastics program in the country at any level has ever made an ascent to the regionals as quickly as Lindenwood has. “Seeing the caliber of gymnasts the first year of the program and the desire they had, I thought eventually we could do this,” said Head Coach Jen Llewellyn, who started at Lindenwood as a graduate assistant in 2013 and became head coach in 2014. “It’s always been n my radar, and we talked about it last year as a team. We didn’t actively say it was our goal but knew it was possible. At each meet, we just focused on how we could get a 10th better.” NCAA gymnastics has a format that allows programs from all divisions to reach the national championships based on their national qualifying score, which takes the top six scores of the season, eliminates the best and averages the remaining five. There have been a lot of firsts in the history of the program and preceding the first regional trip were the first wins over Division I teams: Iowa State and Mizzou. So, this grand stage isn’t entirely new for the Lions. “We made the schedule a lot more difficult,” Llewellyn said. “We have the luxury of choosing where we go. I tried as much as possible to get more power-five teams and Division I schools to build our confidence. So, strategically we made it more competitive, and they handled it well.” The Lions have won two USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate National Championships in their seven-year history. Lindenwood captured its first title in 2015 and secured its second title the following season at home in Hyland Arena. Last month, Lindenwood secured a share of the Midwest Independent Conference (MIC) title for the fifth consecutive season, setting a new conference record in the process. The Lions set a new program record this season with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 195.400, the highest mark in program history. n T SPRING/SUMMER 2019 | 17 GYMNASTICS ACHIEVES RARITY in Trip to NCAA Regional Lindenwood gymnastics team member Andavea Alexander 16 | SPRING/SUMMER 2019 Q2 Initiative Aimed at Service Excellence High-quality EXPERIENCES What Do You Need? How Can I Help? At the beginning of 2018, Lindenwood University launched its new strategic plan, which includes “Deliver a High-Quality Lindenwood Experience” among its themes. Lindenwood has embraced this theme in a couple ways, making changes to facilities and launching a new service excellence initiative known as Q2. Q2 stands for two questions: “What do you need?” and “How can I help?” Those questions are at the heart of a new culture of exceptional service that is being initiated on campus, and they relate to how university personnel interact with students, alumni, visitors, and each other so that the university’s constituents have a consistent high-quality experience. In January, the university launched the Q2 project in a meeting for campus employees in the J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts. Brittany Brown, director of employee development, led the meeting with an explanation of the concept and the steps that had been taken thus far. Molly Hudgins, associate provost, followed up with a presentation on specific examples of ways in which the culture of service is already in play on campus and how the effects endure long after a student has graduated. As part of the project, the Lindenwood Learning Academy, Lindenwood’s employee development program, offers events, programs, and training sessions to instill the Q2 culture across campus. “The employees at Lindenwood have always cared about quality service,” Brown said, “but Q2 is about caring about all people, all of the time. It’s about having a culture of service excellence.” Also in keeping with the high-quality experiences theme, Lindenwood Main Street opened in the Spellmann Center in fall 2018, converting the main level of the building into a one-stop location with Admissions, Student Financial Services, and Academic Services and eliminating the need for students and prospective students to visit multiple offices in buildings across campus for their various transactions. n Molly Hudgins at the Q2 launch event