2012 Homecoming Award Winners
Dr. Peter Beckman, Distinguished Alumni AwardDr. Peter Beckman BA '85 is a recognized global expert in high-end computing systems. During the past 25 years, he has designed and built software and architectures for large-scale parallel and distributed computing systems. Peter helped found Indiana University’s Extreme Computing Laboratory. He also founded the Linux cluster team at the Advanced Computing Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a Turbolinux-sponsored research laboratory that developed the world’s first dynamic provisioning system for cloud computing and HPC clusters. Furthermore, he acted as vice president of Turbolinux’s worldwide engineering efforts. Peter joined Argonne National Laboratory in 2002. As director of engineering and chief architect for the TeraGrid, he designed and deployed the world’s most powerful Grid computing system for linking production high performance computing centers for the National Science Foundation.
He served as director of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility from 2008 to 2010. He is currently the director of the Exascale Technology and Computing Institute, where he leads Argonne’s exascale computing strategic initiative. He is co-founder of the International Exascale Software Project (IESP).
In addition to his undergraduate degree from Anderson University, Peter received his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1993.
Amanda Scott, Distinguished Young Alumni Award
Amanda Scott, a 2007 Anderson University alumna, joined the Obama for America campaign in 2008. Four short years later, she has become the senior digital communications strategist at the U.S. Department of Energy. Amanda’s stellar career began in humility as a volunteer during the Ohio primary. She focused on “organizing new media for specific states to get supporters to vote.” Before transitioning into her current role, Amanda served as a special assistant for the Obama-Biden transition and new media coordinator for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
While at AU Amanda majored in marketing and minored in not-for-profit management and public relations. Now Amanda is writing press releases for a governmental institution with 16,000 employees. Amanda is glad to have the opportunity to make an impact: “I always wanted to go into work and do something that let me feel like I was giving back to a community.”
Dr. Stanley Stephens, Distinguished Service Award
Originally from Niagara Falls, N.Y., Dr. Stanley Stephens BA ’65 followed his sister, the late Dr. Sandra Stephens Clark BS ’64, to Anderson University as a student. The brother and sister both completed long-term careers as faculty at AU. Dr. Nicholson invited Stephens to join the math faculty at AU in 1971. Over the last 40 years, he not only taught, but also served as chair of the math department. He has been active on various university committees and in organizations related to mathematics. In retirement, he and his wife, Christie Smith Stephens BA ’65, plan to spend more time with family in Tennessee and Alabama.
Connie Graham, John H. Kane Loyalty Award
Connie Graham is a 1975 graduate, as was her late husband, Dale Myers. After Dale’s death in 1998, Connie married Jerry Graham in 2002, who is the associate pastor of youth at Mt. Haley Church of God in Midland, Mich. Connie taught elementary school for 27 years, securing her master’s degree from Michigan State University. She has been the director of youth ministries for the Church of God in Michigan since 2005.
Her two children and their spouses are also alumni of AU — Sarah (Myers) Rowe and her husband, Jason graduated in 2001; son Jonathon Myers graduated in 2006 and his wife Katie (Pickett), in 2005. Connie also has two step-sons— Bob Graham, a 2003 AU alum, and Joe Graham, a Calvin College grad. She and Jerry have five grandsons and two granddaughters, with another granddaughter due in November. Connie is also very active in her church and various community organizations.
Connie served two terms as a member of the Anderson University Alumni Council, never missing a meeting or Homecoming weekend. Every year, Connie and Jerry faithfully pack a van of prospective AU students — high school students from Michigan CHOG congregations — and bring them to Anderson for campus visits. Numerous AU alumni can point to Connie as a key reason they call Anderson their alma mater. She has also represented Anderson University at the Midland College Fair for the past five years.
Bill Gaither, Outstanding Music Alumni Award
The pages of history have been written by ordinary people who have had something extraordinary to say with their lives. Bill Gaither is just such an individual: an Indiana-born kid with an insatiable love for music who grew to become an industry leader and changed the course of gospel music history through the songs he has written and his influence as a mentor for other artists.
An avid fan of gospel quartets throughout his childhood, Bill founded his first group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956 while he was a college student at Anderson University. He began teaching English in 1959 because his musical aspirations could not yet support him. In 1962, Bill married Gloria Sickal, also an AU alumna, who became the best writing partner Bill could have found anywhere. The couple spent the first five years of their married life juggling full-time teaching jobs with writing, singing, recording, and publishing until music became their full-time career in 1967.
Bill and Gloria’s collaborations have resulted in more than 700 popular gospel songs, including the hymnal standards “Because He Lives,” “The King Is Coming,” “Something Beautiful,” “He Touched Me,” “It Is Finished,” “There’s Something About That Name,” “Let’s Just Praise The Lord,” and “Loving God, Loving Each Other.” Bill and Gloria have collectively won eight Grammy Awards, with more than a dozen nominations. They have received more than two dozen Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association, earning the title of Gospel Music Association’s “Songwriter of the Year” eight times.
Sam Judd, Alumni Council Legacy Scholarship
Samuel Judd was born into a family that has continually loved and supported him throughout his life. He grew up in a rural area of Ohio and regularly attended the Eaton First Church of God. While many experiences led Sam to Anderson, he believes that, most importantly, God had Anderson University written into the plan for his life.
Sam can remember going to his first AU football game when he was seven or eight years old, and has been a regular visitor ever since. His sister, Bailey — now a junior at AU; his mother, formerly Robin Brooks BA ’82, and his grandmother, formerly Bonnie Kearns BA ’52, have all lived in Morrison Hall.
Sam is grateful to receive the Legacy Scholarship and plans to focus his academic attentions on biology and chemistry, with the goal of entering medical school after graduation. He feels AU will prepare him well. His ultimate life goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon, all the while serving Christ.