It’s everything he never knew he always wanted

At Huntington University, Luke Brenneman found friends, fellowship and a unique talent for lip-syncing (but we’ll come back to that). What he didn’t expect was finding a lifelong career path that he never knew he wanted.

Brenneman is currently on the fast track to a PhD in communication with an emphasis in intercultural and conflict communication at Arizona State University. He graduated from HU in May 2012. He was beginning his PhD program only three short months later.

“I didn’t even know at first that undergrads could get into PhD programs,” said Brenneman, who is one of only three students ever to be accepted into the program straight from undergrad. “It was nice to find something that I really wanted to do but had never heard about before.”

Even before coming to HU, Brenneman was always interested in how society thinks and operates, but putting that into a job description or even a career path was difficult for him. Once he found the PhD program at Arizona State, he found that he had been working toward his ideal job all along.

“The (Huntington) faculty was willing to work with me to incorporate all of those decisions into my career,” said Brenneman, a sociology major who also enrolled in four minors, missions (cross-cultural studies), psychology, marketing and communication studies, and also earned a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. “That prepared me to be a well-rounded thinker in the area that I’m in now.”

Brenneman hopes to be a professor someday because he loves the challenge that academia provides. But he also wants to help to create the great college experience for his students that he found at HU — in and out of the classroom.

“I was able to develop a lot of close relationships because of the community on my floor, in my dorm and my sister floor,” he said. Even a small rivalry with a girl’s floor spawned a series of lip-sync videos, including one that aired at Forester Night (see it online at

“The community at HU is amazing. That’s one of the main things that I can appreciate most,” he added, laughing about the lip-sync videos. “It was a real blessing to be a part of for four years.”