Cornerstone Alumnus Named as Semifinalist for Publishing Industry Leadership Award
by Kristina Garvelink (M.S. ’15)
This year's list of honorees for the annual PW Star Watch, an award given to influential emerging leaders in the publishing industry by Publishers Weekly and Frankfurter Buchmesse, included Cornerstone University alumnus Darron Schroeder (B.A. ’15). Schroeder works as an assistant manager and children's product buyer at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Mich.
"At Cornerstone, Darron was a leader among his peers and encouraged others to be better writers," Dr. Michael Pasquale, professor of linguistics and chair of the Humanities Division, said. "It is exciting to see Darron be recognized for the work that he has done. He is incredibly humble and gracious but also a hardworking student who thrived in learning in community."
For Schroeder, the recognition of being named as a PW Star Watch semifinalist indicates more than early career success in the publishing field. Instead, he views the honor as confirmation of a strong alignment between his vocation and career path.
"It was a huge surprise and encouragement," Schroeder said. "From the nearly 50 people honored, I was named one of only two people honored from the Christian book industry. The only way I can make sense against the odds of being nominated is through my spiritual worldview. We are working on some incredible programs to better integrate Christians and books in several different markets, and I view the PW honor as another assurance from God of the pathway we are on."
Prior to graduating with a bachelor's degree in literature, Schroeder considered becoming an educator. His experience as a volunteer for Breathe Christian Writers Conference and connections with publishing professionals helped him clarify his calling during college.
"A passion for the written word—how it stretches my perspective, as well as educates and inspires—took root early in my life," Schroeder reflected. "It wasn't a clear journey to the field of publishing for me, but once I committed to publishing I have since been blessed with the assurance that spreading stories centered on the Word of God is my calling.
"God is in story—in the stories we share with each other and in the passing of the written word. I work at the forefront of new and exciting ways for incorporating Christian books into a general book market. There are an estimated 30,000 Christian grade schools in the United States and not one program for bringing Christian children's books into these schools. At Baker Book House, we have a solution to this problem facing parents, teachers and librarians."
Schroeder expressed gratitude for his undergraduate college experience at Cornerstone and cited opportunities in the Humanities Division as being invaluable in preparing him for his current job.
"Besides the obvious of gaining an outstanding education in the world of English literature and writing, I grew immensely through industry networking opportunities fostered or led by Cornerstone professors," Schroeder shared. "The professors at CU go above and beyond the classroom."