Captain (Ret) Jason Church to Speak as Wendt Center for Character Education Fall Lecturer

Oct 6, 2014

On Monday, October 13, the University of Dubuque’s Wendt Center for Character Education will host Captain (Ret) Jason Church, U.S. Army Purple Heart recipient, who will deliver the lecture, “The Power of a Positive Attitude and Standing up to Adversity.”  The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Heritage Center’s John and Alice Butler Hall on the University of Dubuque Campus.  The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for admission and may be obtained through the Farber Box Office.

Mike Schmidt, UD assistant football coach and Wendt Advisory Board member, was a college classmate of Jason’s.  “Jason Church personifies what the Wendt Character Initiative is all about,” said Schmidt.  “The sacrifice endured and the courage exhibited by Jason while serving our country is legendary heroism. The extraordinary faith he has placed in God is what breathes hope into mankind.”

Jason Church was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky on February 23, 1989. In 2007, he graduated from Menomonie High School in Menomonie, WI.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.  Jason was also a four-year letter winner in football and a cadet in the ROTC program.  Upon graduation, Jason commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) in the United States Army.  He completed Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Benning, GA, and while stationed there, he graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School, Army Airborne School, and Stryker Leader Course.

Upon completion of his training, First Lieutenant (1LT) Church was assigned to Comanche Company, 1-23 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 2 Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis, WA.  In May 2012, 1LT Church deployed with this unit to Panjwai’I Afghanistan.  The unit’s mission was to establish the legitimacy of Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and further develop the Afghan National Security Force.

On the August 23, 2012, in Panjwai’I, Afghanistan 1LT Church and nine other members of his platoon were involved in an IED explosion.  1LT Church was immediately transported to Kandahar Air Field by helicopter.  The IED blast resulted in the amputation of both legs below the knee.  1LT Church went through 21 surgeries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, before receiving his prosthetics and going through the recovery process.  1LT Church was promoted to Captain and medically retired from the Army on July 31, 2014.

Jason currently attends Georgetown University in pursuit of his master of arts in U.S. Security Policy and plans on attending law school next fall.  He speaks around the country to various schools, companies, and organizations about overcoming adversity and the power of a positive attitude.

Captain Church’s military awards include the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Airborne Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab.  He also received the 2014 NCAA Inspirational Award at the 2014 NCAA National Convention.

The Wendt Character Initiative was established in 2004 at the University of Dubuque by the endowed Lester and Michael Lester Wendt Character Initiative Fund.  The Initiative operates under the care of the Wendt Center for Character Education.  This Initiative promotes a campus culture that nurtures the formation of excellent moral character, and encourages all members of the community to live lives of purpose. The work of the Wendt Character Initiative is centered in the University’s Mission and Values, a commitment to its Reformed Christian identity, and a sense of creative vocation in faithful response to the Creator.  This Initiative is part of the total educational experience of all University of Dubuque students through curricular and co-curricular programs.  Faculty and staff also participate in the Initiative.

Complimentary tickets are required for admission and may be obtained through Heritage Center’s Farber Box Office Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; by phone at 563-585-SHOW; or online at