The start of the 2019-2020 school year came with a new chaplain, Paul Brandes.
Brandes is originally from a suburb North of the city of Chicago. He attended Sterling College from 2007-2011, where he met his wife Ashley, who was born and raised in Sterling.
His favorite memory from Sterling is his freshman year, when a massive ice storm struck campus and caused classes to be cancelled for an ice day.
“I just have this memory of waking [my roommate] up and chanting ice day at the top of my lungs,” he said. “It was fun just spending the day outside in the freezing cold, slipping and sliding everywhere.”
He and his wife moved back to Chicago for him to earn his seminary degree, and then he worked as a youth pastor at the church he grew up in.
“It was a really unique experience working with middle schoolers that were me ten years earlier,” he said.
Brandes and his wife then moved to Kansas City, where he got a job as a pastor.
The couple then decided to have kids. They have a 4-year-old boy named Beaven and a 2-year-old boy named Owen.
Brandes said he then decided to come back to Sterling to be the chaplain because it is a place that made a deep and positive impact on his life.
Brandes enjoyed the Sterling College theology and ministry department because it prepared him for his master’s degree and ministry in the future.
“I can give back to the next generation of college students at the same place that I received so many blessings and benefits, so that was really appealing to me,” he said.
Brandes said he strives to make chapel compelling, engaging and relevant to the student body, seeing this as an opportunity to help students follow Jesus.