Written by Kaylie Weideman. Media by Momoka Murata.
Keli Pennington is the Assistant Director of Admissions here at Greenville University. She was born and raised in the surrounding area of Peoria, IL, where her relationship with Christ helped her become the person she is today. She first committed her life to God when she was a little girl. She was playing outside her house and was convinced that Jesus was there playing alongside her, almost as if he were an imaginary friend.
Pennington first heard of Greenville College when she was in high school and five young Greenville alumni were working at her church. Hearing all the stories of what Greenville had offered them and the love of Christ that each student experienced inspired her. Pennington visited campus in late October when the leaves were changing and the campus was breathtaking. She immediately fell in love with Greenville’s environment. Shortly after her visit, she made the decision to attend the college and be in a place that would help transform her to be more like Christ.
Pennington’s favorite place on campus is Jo’s Java. Her go-to order is a Coco-Moco Nut Brew and a cinnamon roll; she could have that every day. Her favorite thing about campus life is that she can not go anywhere without running into someone she knows. She says, “I try to give myself an extra five to ten minutes when I need to go somewhere on campus so I can stop and talk to whoever I happen to run into.” She loves interacting with her friends and students on campus and having a special bond with everyone.
God brought Pennington to Greenville, Illinois for a reason, just like He did for everyone on campus. He shows up in Pennington’s life by helping her to reflect upon the innumerable opportunities she has each day to impact the world in the name of Jesus. She has found that her efforts without the Lord by her side are wasted. She knows the power of God; The Almighty has helped her through every situation she has been in and will go through. She has always put 110% into just about everything she does and without God, she has recognized that those efforts are nothing. Having the ability to seek Christ within your heart is extremely important to Pennington, just as it should be to every committed believer.
Experiences with God and His power bring us closer to Him and closer to a happier life. Pennington has had a lot of such experiences. From being a student at Greenville College to now working at Greenville University, being connected with God has shown Pennington that He is sovereign in both stressful situations and hard times.
Pennington’s main piece of advice for GU students is, “A+ assignments and community won’t be handed to you; you must choose to engage with people inside and outside the classroom.” She wants us to “say yes” to hanging out with people outside our comfort zones, get involved with campus activities, and participate in class discussions. She says, “It won’t be easy and you won’t be the same person when you graduate, but that’s what you’re here for: to learn and grow, right?”
Keli Pennington is the sweetest person I have met. She makes any room she walks in come alive, and she truly leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes!
If you happen to see Keli on campus and want to get to know her more, ask her if she wants to get Mario’s pizza — it is her favorite place to eat!