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Why I Give: Ellie Groenendyk ’16

Ellie Groenendyk

Ellie Groenendyk ’16 spent most of her childhood moving from city to city. In fact, four years at Covenant College was the longest she had lived in one place. This is part of why Ellie has a deep love for the Covenant community, which is exemplified not only in her commitment to the college’s mission but also in her faithful giving to the school.

Ellie was introduced to Covenant through her older brother, Jake ’14, who was a current student when she started the college search. She remembers watching the aerial campus tour video. The beauty of Lookout Mountain and Covenant’s campus sold her on applying. Jake and Ellie’s younger two siblings, Jessan ’18 and Hannah ’21, also graduated from Covenant, and their mother, Dori, graduated from Covenant’s Master of Education program in 2015.

When asked about a favorite Covenant memory, Ellie recounted the story of when she and her friends drove around the mountain picking up thrown out Christmas trees after the holiday season. The group put them to good use at a bonfire. While she will hold on to memories like this for a long time, Ellie notes that Covenant gave her much more than just fun stories. She and her siblings received financial aid at Covenant, which helped the Groenendyk family tremendously. Additionally, Ellie says the school gave her perspective. “At Covenant, you connect with people from all over the world and from many different backgrounds. It made me realize that our world is much bigger than I’d thought,” she says.

Ellie’s four years at Covenant set the foundation for her life as an adult believer. In her words, “Covenant is where I learned how big our God is. It was there that I learned there is truly nothing He can’t handle.” Because Covenant is not afraid to engage with difficult questions, Ellie says she left the mountain with a framework of how to view the world. This solid foundation continues to guide her life.

One fun fact about Ellie’s time at Covenant is that she worked as a resident assistant in Founders Hall, and she had the opportunity to be the first RA of Jubilee. She loved helping to establish a new hall on campus. She graduated with a bachelor’s in Spanish and a minor in business and currently works in human resources for Raven Industries in Sioux Falls, SD. She is a member of Embrace Church in Sioux Falls.

Now, Ellie gives back to her alma mater to help reduce the financial burden many students experience. She says, “I hope to break down the financial barriers that may inhibit students from coming to Covenant.” She wants to see more students come to the mountain and watch the college’s impact grow.

Since graduating, Ellie has witnessed the broad scope of the Covenant community. “There are people beyond the mountain, spread throughout the world, that are committed to Covenant’s success.” Through generosity, Ellie is connected to a global community that supports Covenant College. “By giving, I think about being connected to something beyond myself,” she says.

Ellie's encouragement to those beginning their giving journey is, “Just start. Find something you care about and just start giving, even if it’s only $10 a month.” Through her giving, Ellie reflects her love and appreciation for what the college has given her family, and she supports future generations of Scots.


Graduate School of Education

Undergraduate Departments, Majors, Minors, Certificates, Concentrations, and Programs

Academic Certificates

  • Arts Administration
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability
  • Journalism and Society
  • Medical Ethics Consultation
  • Neuroscience
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


  • Art, 2-D Concentration 
  • Art, 3-D Concentration 
  • Art, Art History Concentration 
  • Art, Graphic Design Concentration 
  • Art, Photography Concentration 
  • Art minor
  • Art History minor

Biblical & Theological Studies

  • Biblical & Theological Studies 
  • Biblical & Theological Studies, Missions Concentration 
  • Biblical & Theological Studies minor
  • Biblical Languages minor
  • History of Christianity minor
  • Missions minor
  • Youth Ministry minor


  • Biology, Biomedical Concentration 
  • Biology, Environmental Concentration 
  • Biology, General 
  • Biology, Health Professions Concentration 
  • Biology minor


  • Business 
  • Business, Accounting Concentration 
  • Business, Finance Concentration 
  • Business, Marketing Concentration 
  • Sport Management 
  • Business minor
  • Sport Management minor


  • Chemistry, Biochemistry Concentration 
  • Chemistry, General 
  • Biochemistry minor
  • Chemistry minor

Community Development

  • Community Development 
  • Community Development minor

Computer Science

  • Computer Science 
  • Computer Science minor


  • Economics 
  • Economics minor


  • Education Studies 
  • Elementary Education (P-5) 
  • Secondary Education Certifications through MAT program 
  • Education minor

Engineering 3:2 Program

  • Natural Science, Pre-Engineering Studies Concentration


  • English 
  • English, Writing Concentration 
  • English minor
  • Writing minor

Health, Wellness and Coaching

  • Coaching minor

History, Politics, and International Studies

  • History 
  • History, Art History Concentration 
  • Political Science 
  • International Studies 
  • History minor
  • Political Science minor

Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations 


  • Mathematics 
  • Mathematics minor


  • Music, Church Music Concentration 
  • Music, Creative Studies Concentration 
  • Music, General Music Concentration 
  • Music, Instrumental Performance Concentration 
  • Music, Music Education (Pre-MAT) Concentration 
  • Music, Organ Performance Concentration 
  • Music, Piano Pedagogy Concentration 
  • Music, Piano Performance Concentration 
  • Music, Vocal Performance Concentration 
  • Music minor


  • Philosophy 
  • Philosophy minor


  • Physics 
  • Physics minor

Pre-Professional Programs

  • Pre-Law Studies 
  • Pre-Medical Studies 
  • Pre-Nursing Studies 
  • Pre-Physical Therapy Studies 


  • Psychology 
  • Psychology minor


  • Sociology 
  • Sociology, Family Studies & Social Work Concentration 
  • Sociology minor


  • Theatre minor

World Languages

  • French 
  • Spanish 
  • French minor
  • Spanish minor