Alumni Awards

A list of awards that recognize outstanding achievements by alumni or friends of Bethel University.

Alumna or Alumnus of the Year Award

In recognition of an outstanding alumna or alumnus of Bethel University who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.  

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service

In recognition of an alumnus or alumna for exemplary work done behind the scenes, in an attitude of quiet humility.

Young Alumnus or Alumna of the Year Award

In recognition of an outstanding young alumnus or alumna of Bethel University, who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.

2023 Award Winners

Tom Swank ’70

Alumnus of the Year

Tom lived out the Bethel mission to make “leaders for the church and the world” throughout his career, after graduating with a degree in Biblical Literature from Bethel in 1970. He met his wife Kim (Freed) Swank ‘69 at Bethel. He later earned his Master’s in Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1978. Tom’s intentional personality enabled him to pastor well at Missionary churches in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. He also held positions as the East Central District Superintendent of the Missionary Church and Director of Discipling Ministries. He currently serves as the Director of Prayer Ministry at the Missionary Church headquarters. Tom has a deep love for Bethel and has remained connected over the years through events and praying for our campus.

Monica (Galloway) Oke ’96

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service

Monica (Galloway) Oke has embodied a life of service since graduating from Bethel in 1996. Monica is active at her church, St. Mark Missionary, in various ways, including leading the SALT ministry, a women’s prayer group, missions trips to Ukraine and Fiji, a small group for parents of foster kids, and the Angel Tree program for several years. She also volunteers in the children’s program at St. Mark and as a MOPS mentor mom. Monica has served on the Missionary Church Board and Prairie Camp Board. She and her husband, Lavone Oke ’86, also have fostered more than 10 kids and adopted from the foster care system.

Alyssa (Toupin) Welch ’13

Young Alumna of the Year

Alyssa (Toupin) Welch ‘13 stayed active during her time at Bethel competing on both the Women’s Varsity Basketball and Cross Country Teams. Alyssa majored in Biology, which prepared her for medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed her General Surgical Residency at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and has recently served as a General/Trauma Surgeon at Unity Healthcare in Lafayette, Indiana. Alyssa has traveled on medical mission trips to Sierra Leone West Africa and South America. She has also volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, International House for refugee children and Blessed Portions Homeless Ministry in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Alyssa, her husband Joe Welch ’11, and their two children, Eden and Gil, have moved with World Medical Mission to northern Togo to work at Hospital of Hope as medical missionaries in 2024.

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Previous Award Winners

2022 Award Winners

Kristie Cerling

Kristie Cerling ’96, Ph.D.

Alumna of the Year

Kristie Cerling ’96, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences and a Professor of Education at Houston Baptist University, where her primary teaching focus is executive educational leadership and secondary literacy and teaching strategies. She has studied Holocaust Education through the National Writing Project and The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights. She has had a tremendous impact over her career in Education – spanning more than 25 years. She has consulted and presented on a range of topics in the United States and abroad, including effective teaching strategies, leadership development, women in leadership, and Holocaust education.  Dr. Cerling has published in The Journal of Liberal Arts and Sciences and presented at numerous conferences on Teaching Generation Z, authentic assessment, student engagement, and the use of rubrics in college classrooms.

She began as an English and Theatre teacher in Elkhart Community Schools, eventually advancing to administration as an Assistant Principal in the Concord District. She then spent eight years with the Crossing Educational Center as principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and eventually the Superintendent. From there, she came to Bethel to serve as the Department Chair of the Education Department. During her time here, she was instrumental in bringing the Kindergarten Lab to campus – a collaboration with School City of Mishawaka that allows a Kindergarten class to meet on our campus, giving Bethel education majors the opportunity for hands-on interaction with students. Cerling left Bethel to move closer to family in Texas, where she now serves at Houston Baptist University.

Her upcoming book Authentic Assessment in Action: An Everyday Guide for Bringing Learning to Life through Meaningful Assessment co-authored with Dr. Katie Alaniz and published by Rowman & Littlefield will be out early next year. In addition to her professional successes, Cerling has invested heavily in her colleagues, students, and friends. Her servant, others-centered attitude does not go unnoticed.

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service: Jim & Shirley Tuckey ‘72

Jim & Shirley Tuckey ‘72

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service

Shirley is a retired, beloved elementary school teacher and retired Children’s Ministry Director at Cass City Missionary Church, where she is now focusing on serving the women of the church. Jim is a retired mail carrier and farmed with his family. Jim is a handyman, served for many years on the Church board, and was a song leader. Jim and Shirley volunteer at a local community mission called Revive Ministries Common Grounds Café, which was started by the church and provides a café where anyone can come in and eat. They have also been delegates to the Missionary Church Conference and are the backbone of the Cass City Missionary Church, where they have served for 50 years. They also serve on the church prayer team to encourage more intentional prayer in their church, homes and community.


Young Alumna of the Year: Allison (Beachy) Baylis ’16

Allison (Beachy) Baylis ’16

Young Alumna of the Year

During her time at Bethel, Allison (Beachy) Baylis ’16 (Sociology & Intercultural Studies) was a part of the first study abroad group to travel to South Africa. After graduating from Bethel, she returned and spent one year serving at a children’s home near Johannesburg. She then came back, married her husband, fellow Bethel graduate Jacob Baylis ’18, and worked at an autism center and earned her master’s degree in applied Behavior Analysis in 2019. She is now a Senior Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in Salt Lake City, supporting children with Autism and their families by providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. She also supervises and facilitates the fieldwork experience of master-level students in the field pursuing their BCBA certification as they accumulate their practicum hours.

2021 Award Winners

Len and Marci Morris

Len and Marci Morris

Len and Marci Morris are passionate Christ followers. After eight years of getting paid to do ministry, they decided to launch a business so they could have a different platform for ministry. Len’s degree is in Biblical Studies and he wouldn’t trade his study of Bible for any training in numbers and spreadsheets. Marci graduated with a degree in elementary education and has since performed every role in ministry and business. She once officiated a funeral and has made both fun and hard business decisions. She ran the books for the company until her retirement a few months ago.

In 2001, the couple cashed in $16,000 of IRA savings and launched a business in an old hog barn. The business failed after about one-and-a-half years. They tried again. This business moved along (barely) for about 15 years. In 2016, they started to catch their stride.  

Today, Len and Marci are active in 12 different business ventures, employing around 400 people, with over two dozen of them Bethel alumni. Both of their adult sons work in the business. The minimum pay in their business is $25 per hour.

Len and Marci run their business with this motto, “Our products are long lasting, but people are eternal and we promise to treat them that way.”

The couple has three children. Their two sons are married and have blessed them with three grandchildren (soon to be four). They also have a 14-year-old daughter still at home.

Laura Glass

Laura Glass

Laura Glass graduated from Bethel in 2015 with a B.S. in Mathematics, a B.S. in Spanish, and a minor in Accounting. Since graduating, she  continued her education by earning a M.S. in Business Analytics and a M.S. in Marketing Research from Michigan State University, in 2016 and 2019 respectively. She started her career as a Business Analyst at Stryker Corporation in Portage, Mich., in 2017, supporting sales leaders who negotiated contracts at large hospitals and health systems. In 2019, she transitioned into a new position as a Lead Compliance Analyst on the Data Analytics team within the Global Legal & Compliance department. Laura is currently an Associate Manager of Compliance Analytics on that team, and she analyzes data and shares insights with her colleagues around the world to help them identify and mitigate risk for Stryker.

Laura was a member of the women’s golf team at Bethel and continues her passion for the sport by working for TV networks (i.e. Golf Channel, NBC, Fox Sports) at professional golf tournaments.

When asked how her faith and life intersect, Laura says “I look for God in the everyday details. I work alongside people who have very different beliefs than I have. This is exciting for me because I strive to live a life of faith so much so that they notice something different about me. With Bethel’s affiliation to the Missionary Church, it was easy to sense the tone of many chapel speakers and messages at Bethel; they often encouraged us to pursue a life as a missionary or doing mission work. I heard so many moving stories while I was at Bethel, and I respect and pray for missionaries all over the world on a regular basis. I just don’t believe that living out God’s calling for you or fulfilling the Great Commission has to look like being a missionary in a different country. I think mission work can be done in cubicles across the United States. I try to live my life as an example of a Christ-follower. I pursue Him and take action where I sense He is calling me. I pray that my life looks different to those around me so that they might be interested in why I don’t act the same way as so many around me. Approaching my life like this has worked well in the office atmosphere where I work daily, and it has led to great opportunities for me to share my faith with people at work.”

Tom MaxwellTom Maxwell

After high school graduation in 1988, Tom Maxwell studied nuclear power on a scholarship and entered the nuclear industry in the field of Radiation Protection. During this time, he learned about emergency planning, firefighting, and became a licensed EMT. Later, in his nuclear career, he became a certified Nuclear Training Instructor. Together, these skills would become helpful when he and his family moved to the northern mountains of the Philippines to serve as missionaries with Youth With A Mission.

Tom visited the Mountain Province Fire Department and realized how underequipped the department was. He organized the donation and shipment of several boxes of used fire gear from local departments.  Following Supertyphoon Haiyan in 2013, he organized and trained the PHILEO Disaster Response Team composed of missionaries in the Philippines. In 2015, he went to Kathmandu, Nepal to help following the earthquake. More recently, Tom was able to arrange for similar shipments to the Benguet Provincial Fire Department in the Philippines and to the Fire Force of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

After returning from the Philippines, Tom felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to study more deeply. In 2017, Tom enrolled at Bethel and completed his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies that same year. The same December day he completed his last final exam, he was called to interview at College Park Missionary Church and has served as pastor since. He is currently working toward his M.A. in Ministry degree at Bethel University.

Tom continues to serve in emergency services as a firefighter and the chaplain for the Niles Township Fire Department. He also returned to the Philippines in 2018 to facilitate training for the PHILEO team with his daughter, Annalise, who is a current Bethel student.

2020 Award Winners

BECKY SAVAGE '16 Alumna of the YearBECKY SAVAGE ’16

Alumna of the Year

In 2015, the oldest two of Becky and Mike Savage’s four sons, Nick and Jack, died as a result of prescription drug use at a party. Becky, in an effort to help parents, students and communities address and prevent prescription drug abuse, started the 525 Foundation. As the Savages take this journey to educate others about the opioid crisis and save lives, they take the memory of Nick and Jack with them. The 525 Foundation partners with law enforcement agencies for prescription take-back events and has installed pill drop boxes at local businesses, including Martins Super Markets. Along with other organizations, the 525 Foundation has collected over 14,000 pounds of pills. Becky has spoken all over the country and even testified before Congress about the opioid crisis. In 2019 the Foundation and Becky herself received several awards. The Foundation was named “Playmaker of the Year” by the Kelly Cares Foundation and was recognized by the Addiction Policy Forum for addressing opioid addictions. Becky was recognized as the 2019 Indiana Mother of the Year by American Mothers Inc., and Indiana University recently awarded her the Bicentennial award. Bethel University is proud to name Becky as the 2020 Bethel University Alumna of the Year. 

AMY (BAKER) BADDLEY ’14 Young Alumna of the YearAMY (BAKER) BADDLEY ’14 

Young Alumna of the Year

Amy completed her Bethel degree while in Washington, D.C., through the American Studies Program with hopes of kickstarting a public policy career in the nation’s capital. That summer, she participated in the American Enterprise Institute’s Summer Fellowship program before accepting full-time employment in the House of Representatives. For three years, she served as a legislative assistant for a  congressman from Oklahoma and cut her teeth in federal policy, legislative drafting and congressional procedure. When her husband was offered the opportunity to obtain his Master’s in Theological Studies at Harvard, they moved to Cambridge, Mass., and she accepted employment at athenahealth, a health technology company. She first served as a product associate, managing a technology-enabled physician workflow, and later transitioned to become the company’s Government and Regulatory Affairs Senior Associate. In this capacity, she used her prior experience in federal policy to advocate for legislation and regulations that promote technological innovation and enable better patient outcomes. Five years of experience in public policy confirmed her passion for our nation’s legal and legislative processes, so she decided to pursue legal education at Vanderbilt Law School to continue growing in this field. She is currently a Juris Doctor Candidate at Vanderbilt Law.

KEVIN BLOWERS ’96 Timothy Award for Outstanding ServiceKEVIN BLOWERS ’96

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service

Kevin has been working in the Bowen Library at Bethel University since 1993, when he started as a student worker. Since then, his roles have ranged from working the circulation desk, to becoming curator of both the Bethel University and Missionary Church archives. He currently serves as Technical Services Librarian and Curator of the Missionary Church Archives at Bethel University. He obtained his undergraduate degree in English from Bethel University in 1996, a Master of Arts in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 1997, and his Master of Library Science from Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, in 2004. Kevin is a diligent worker as he balances the tasks that six individuals typically maintain, making him a valuable asset to the university. Though he has many significant accomplishments, his work in Bethel’s and the Missionary Church’s archives is cherished dearly. He is a keeper and collector of history —helping keep the past present in the lives of those who seek it out. When time-consuming projects have been presented to him, he has accomplished them in record-breaking time. Blowers is enthusiastic to help discover these glimpses into history and see what it still means to people, answering questions about relatives, past events and rediscovering memories. His work ethic is not confined to his work in the archives, however, as he has dabbled in many other professions also, teaching a few classes at the university and aiding in important research. He has dedicated many hours to the Gospel Center Missionary Church, teaching Sunday school, participating in the worship band and serving in many other areas. Kevin’s behind-the-scenes work is priceless to Bethel’s community.

2019 Award Winners

JOEL BOEHNER ’05 Alumnus of the YearJOEL BOEHNER ’05

Alumnus of the Year

Joel is currently Executive Director of IN*SOURCE (Indiana Resource Center for Families with Special Needs), a non-profit organization that provides Special Education Parent Support throughout Indiana. Under his leadership, special projects geared toward interpreter training, youth self-advocacy, and site-based community outreach have emerged and grown, as have collaborations with researchers and institutions of higher education. For eight years (2007-2015), Joel served Bethel in varying roles in both faculty and staff positions. During this time, he helped facilitate change in the location and in the services of the Katherine J. Gribbin Learning Commons, while elevating the profile of the Center for Academic Success and the Center for Career Development and Global Engagement. Joel’s proudest achievement is being Anne’s husband of 15 years and the parent of Alyssa (8) and Christopher (5), who are his guiding lights, inspiration, and deepest expression of his calling in life.

KORY & ALISON LANTZ ’09 Young Alumni of the YearKORY & ALISON LANTZ ’09

Young Alumni of the Year 

After graduating in 2009, Kory and Alison (Gingrich) moved to the northwest side of South Bend and started building relationships with their neighbors. Their passion for youth, hospitality and culture drove their decision to put down roots just 15 minutes away from Bethel. The Lantzes now serve at Transformation Ministries, an organization that provides support for middle school and high school students living in the Keller Park area. One of several avenues the Lantzes use to reach their neighborhood is Iron Sharpens Iron (ISI), a youth leadership program they started, named after Old Testament verse Proverbs 27:17. In ISI, neighborhood youth spend time eating, talking, holding each other accountable, and bearing one another’s burdens. The Lantzes also run the Urban Ministry Experience with Bethel students, host study tables, and run Greater Impact Lawn Care – a for-profit business to teach youth how to work through meaningful employment opportunities.

KRISTY MIKEL ’05 Timothy Award for Outstanding ServiceKRISTY MIKEL ’05

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service

Kristy lives and works in Mae Sot, Thailand, located on the Myanmar (Burma)/Thailand border. Here, she co-founded Braverly, a café and sewing center. Braverly, working under Outpour Movement, empowers women by serving as a training center for business management, sewing, culinary arts, and product development. The work done at Braverly enables women to provide for themselves and their families and gives them the tools they need to be confident, try new things, and make an impact. Kristy and her team strive to connect the women they serve with Jesus. They desire to see each woman they work with pursue a relationship with Jesus and live boldly and to be the person He created them to be. Kristy works tirelessly for Kingdom impact, and has been transforming lives in Thailand, one woman at a time.

2018 Award Winners

Jorge ’10 and Caron Marquez ’09 are the 2018 Young Alumni of the YearJORGE ’10 AND CARON ’09

Young Alumni of the Year

After graduating in 2010 with a degree in Finance and Economics, Jorge and his wife Caron (B.A. International Studies) moved to his home country of Mexico to serve as full-time volunteers in Dulce Refugio orphanage. Noting the lack of discipline among teen boys, they began a soccer ministry to motivate and teach them important skills. Now in Asia, Jorge continues to use soccer to reach young men in both a maximum-security prison and a soccer academy for underprivileged kids. Jorge and Caron recently started a non-profit organization/transition home helping young men released from prison to become self-sufficient and moral citizens.

MICHAELA MURRAY ’12 Timothy Award for ServiceMICHAELA MURRAY ’12

Timothy Award for Service

Michaela double majored in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, graduating in 2012. She just began her seventh year of teaching Pre-Kindergarten at Waynesboro Primary School in Georgia where she also tutors after hours. In addition to serving the Primary School, she is chairperson for the Evangelism Committee at church, a small group leader for a youth retreat, co-teaches a weekly English as a second language class for adults, and is preparing for her fourth trip to the Dominican Republic next summer. Michaela’s servant attitude comes from a legacy of Bethel graduates — both her mom and grandma are alumnae and have played a role in serving the families of Waynesboro Primary School alongside her.

RANDY LEHMAN ’82 Alumnus of the YearRANDY LEHMAN ’82

Alumnus of the Year

Randy was introduced to Northwestern Mutual through an internship program in 1981-1982, while completing his B.A. degree in Accounting, with a minor in Economics. He has been a Wealth Management Advisor associated with Northwestern Mutual since 1983, and earned professional designations of Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Accredited Estate Planner (AEP). He is a founding partner of Summit Financial Group, which specializes in working with business owners, executives and retirees. As the senior member of the group, his primary focus is on comprehensive retirement income distribution and estate plans. Randy and his wife, Deb, reside in Angola, Ind. They have three married children and two grandchildren. They attend Fairview Missionary Church and enjoy supporting many other nonprofit organizations. He has faithfully served three terms on the Bethel College Board of Trustees since 2012 and is the current Chair.

2017 Award Winners

Emanuel Olariu ’08Emanuel Olariu ’08

As manager of Grace Christian School in Lagoj, Romania, Emanuel Olariu ’08 has seen the power of lives transformed through Christian education. He helped start the school with just 32 students after graduating from Bethel. Nine years later, the school has grown to 430 students – from preschool to eighth grade – and 80 staff members.

“My dream was to leave a legacy, to leave something after I am gone that can magnify God’s glory in our community and improve the lives of those that come into contact with this project,” Olariu says. “I never dreamed this dream would become a Christian school.”

Olariu came to Bethel to study business administration, but added another major in economics and finance because of the impact Associate Professor Aaron Schavey, Ph.D., had on him.

“Studying business, I realized the importance of a long-term investment and I understood that this is what a school really is …a long-term investment in the community where God has placed us to live.”

Caleb Bislow '00 Alumnus of the Year 2017Caleb Bislow ’00

Alumnus of the Year 2017

In recognition of an outstanding alumna or alumnus of Bethel College who exemplifies the values of the college in his or her personal and professional life.  

Caleb Bislow left Bethel College in 2000 with a degree in graphic design and a minor in youth ministry. For five years after graduation, he served as a youth pastor at Colonial Woods Missionary Church. He went on to become an ordained minister with the Missionary Church. Today, he shares the word of God in unusual ways.

He is founder of Unusual Soldiers, training ordinary people to “courageously bring the hope of Christ to dark, dangerous, and despised places around the world.” This part of his ministry led him to write the book, “Dangerous: Engaging the People and Places No One Else Will.” (Bethany House) He is also an itinerant speaker for Forge (

He travels and speaks at a variety of Christian venues across the United States and Canada. He focuses on topics that aim to challenge Christians to take risks and engage in God’s global mission.

Bislow grew up in Nebraska and began following Christ at an early age. He and his wife, Jessica (‘00), have four children.

Mike McConville '03 Oct 1 2017 Timothy Award for Outstanding Service 2017Mike McConville ’03

Timothy Award for Outstanding Service 2017

McConville graduated from Bethel with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. He completed the Master of Divinity degree in 2003 at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is ordained by the Missionary Church and is endorsed by the National Association of Evangelicals.

Prior to his current role, McConville was commissioned a Navy Chaplain in 2004. Until 2009, he served in Virginia, Iraq, Fallujah and Ramadi. He then reported to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, and trained over 10,000 Marine students annually in ethical decision-making skills. He next went to the Coast Guard Sector Mobile, providing ministry coverage for units throughout Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

His personal awards include the Navy Commendation Medal (1 star), Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (1 star) and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.

He is married to Dawn (Hopkins) and they have three children. He is currently a Doctor of Ministry (2018) student at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

2016 Award Winners

  • Alumnus of the Year Award – Blessing “Yemi” Mobolade ’01
  • Young Alumni of the Year Award – Hannah ’12 & Neil Silveus ’13
  • Timothy Award for Outstanding Service – Kintae Lark ’07
  • Honorary Alumna Award – Maralee Crandon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English

2015 Award Winners

  • Alumna of the Year: Jenny (Dyer) McGee ’99
  • Young Alumnus of the Year: Seth Bartlette ’06
  • Timothy Award for Outstanding Service: Carrie Nofziger ’08