Alumni Awards

Each year Anderson University recognizes alumni and friends who have truly exemplified the call to live a life of faith and service. These awards are aimed at recognizing the accomplishments of alumni and friends and their service to humanity and society. These awards are given every year and each has different selection criteria. Nominations are encouraged by all alumni, parents, and friends of the University. To learn more about Alumni awards, you are invited to contact the Alumni Office at

Award Group Shot Alumni & Nursing
Distinguished Alumni

Jeff Howard BA ’08

Jeff came to Anderson College after spending his elementary, middle school, and high school days in Anderson, Indiana. He had originally committed to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where Martin Luther King, Jr. went to school. It was during Jeff’s time at Anderson College that he knew that God had begun to shape and mold his purpose in life. He learned that being a Christian meant servanthood: helping others, giving one’s time and availability, and making sacrifices so that others could succeed. He recalls that he wasn’t always successful, but that through some failures, he learned how to do things the right way.

He had a tremendous support system at Anderson College. Ken and Fran Hardman were people who stuck by him no matter what, which is what he needed at that time. His college basketball coach, Barrett Bates, was extremely instrumental in helping shape his philosophy on life. He taught Jeff the importance of believing in people and not giving up on them when they make mistakes.

After leaving Anderson College with a degree in sociology, Jeff went to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he began working in the social service/education field, and coaching basketball.

Jeff created an after-school program that gave kids an opportunity to have somewhere they could be safe, learn social skills that would help them later in life, and a place that provided tutoring services. It was also at this time that Jeff began coaching, through which he was able to help young men develop not just basketball skills, but character growth to become productive in the communities in which they lived. In 1994, Jeff received the Volunteer of the Year award for the after-school program, and for mentoring young kids in the neighborhood.

Jeff moved on to Illinois, coaching the 2000 Junior Olympic team (Senior Division). From there he moved on to Ashton, and Franklin Grove, Illinois, where he began a youth basketball league and coached at the local high school, where he was awarded the 4 Rivers Conference Co-Coach of the Year and the Sportsmanship Award in 2003.

In 2005, God led Jeff back to Anderson, where he was able to receive teaching credentials and switch his career field. He collaborated with the Park Place Church of God recreation team and other community members to begin a Saturday morning basketball league at Park Place Recreation Center. Jeff is a strong advocate for having people from this community be in positions of leadership. God has allowed Jeff to become a pioneer and trailblazer in the coaching arena.

Since Jeff was hired, both Muncie and Anderson currently have African American coaches in positions of leadership. Jeff believes that his time at Anderson University taught him how to go through difficult things that had never been done before. He had to trust that God would help him through some tough, controversial moments during his coaching tenure, but it was always about helping the young men and their families get to that next level, just as many others helped him.

In 2018, Jeff was elected to the Anderson University Athletic Hall of Fame. Currently, he teaches at the Youth Opportunity Center in the Muncie Community School Corporation, a job opportunity that has given Jeff a chance to continue working with kids who need someone to listen to them. Working at the Youth Opportunity Center has reminded Jeff of how much God has given him to share with others. He is also in his final year of graduate school at Ball State University’s MAE program, hoping to obtain a principal licensure or become an athletic director.

Jeff has resided here in Anderson with his wife, Deb, and daughter, Hope, for 15 years.

Previous Award Recipients

2019 Tom Hamer BA ’75
2018 Lloyd Larson BA ’76
2017 Beth Tharp AS ’80, MBA ’05
2016 Kristian Andersen BA ’96
2015 Tim Hobbs BA ’73
2014 Lawrence Brownlee BA ’96
2013 Rudolph “Rudy” Reginald Pyle III BA ’92
2012 Dr. Peter Beckman BA ’85
Distinguished Young Alumni

LaNesha Tabb BA ’06

LaNesha Tabb is an apron-donning primary educator from Indianapolis, Indiana. She has served in kindergarten through third grade the past 14 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. She is a two-time Teacher of the Year awardee (2012 and 2019).

LaNesha is the author of the best-selling book, Unpack Your Impact: How Two Teachers Ditched Problematic Lessons and Built a Culture-centered Curriculum. LaNesha is the content creator behind Education with an Apron, where she creates fresh and innovative teaching resources.

When LaNesha is not in the classroom teaching kindergarten, you can find her speaking at education conferences all over the United States, sharing teaching strategies and ideas on her social media channels, and serving as a wife and a mother to her two young children.

Previous Award Recipients

2019 Chance Benbow BA ’10, Cassandra Rigsbee Spracklen BA ’09
2018 Philip Peters, BA ’02
2017 Kyle Schroeder, BA ’10
2016 Kara Carlisle, BA ’99
2015 Travis Taflinger, BA ’04, Casey Cline, BA ’03
2014 Paul Mumaw, BA ’97
2013 Ryan Daniel, BA ’07
2012 Amanda Scott, BA ’07
Distinguished Service

Lisa Ragsdale BA ’83

After growing up in Anderson and living in Lake Wales, Florida, during high school, Lisa came to Anderson College in the fall of 1979 as Lisa Helvering. She met her husband, Jim Ragsdale, during her junior year, and they both graduated in 1983, getting married a week after classes were done. Lisa had a double major in business management and applied music. While in college, she worked for four years in Byrum Hall as student secretary for Robert N. Smith, participated in Women’s Chorus and Wind Ensemble, was the make-up manager for the theatre program, and was Booster Belle her senior year. A Tri-S trip to Brazil and J-Term class attending theatre shows in New York City are some great memories from her college experience, as well as a summer representing AU as a camp counselor, serving in camps from Pennsylvania to Wyoming. The friends Lisa made in college are still some of her most treasured relationships. 

Anderson University has been a vital part of Lisa’s formative experience, and of her extended family. At latest count, 25 members of her immediate family have attended AU, in addition to many extended family members. Lisa began working at Anderson University as assistant director of Conference and Performance Events in 2002 and served as director of Conference and Event Services from 2016 to June 2020. While she learned vital skills in management and the planning and execution of events for more than 18 years, the relationships that have changed her life are of the highest value to Lisa. She worked in partnership with servant-hearted people in almost every department on campus to help them achieve the goals of their events, to help hundreds of students through the academic years and 18 summer camp seasons, as well as wonderful partners from outside organizations that chose to bring their events to AU’s campus. Lisa’s desire was to use her gifts to provide excellent service and quality through her work and the students she managed, and to help every event achieve its goal. 

While Lisa misses working with her friends and colleagues at AU, she is enjoying the additional time she’s been given to spend with her family: husband, Jim Ragsdale ’83; and sons and daughters-in-law, Stephen Ragsdale ’10 and Christy Oden Ragsdale ’10, David Ragsdale ’13 and Morgan McGill Ragsdale. Currently working part-time as office manager at South Meridian Church of God, Lisa values this new role to serve her church and the community. She is happy to still be in the area to attend events at Anderson University.

Previous Award Recipients

2019 Joe Royer BA ’96
2018 Janet Brewer BA ’77
2017 Chris Williams BA ’92, MBA ’00
2016 Dr. Merle Strege BA ’69, MDiv ’72
2015 Greg Heberling
2014 Tom Bruce BA ’71
2013 Dr. William Farmen BA ’58
2012 Dr. Stanley Stephens BA ’65
John H. Kane Loyalty

Jim Ostrognai BA ’99

Jim is a vice president of engineering at Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), where he has worked the past four years. 

Before Salesforce, he was a vice president at Interactive Intelligence before the $1.4 billion acquisition by Genesys at the end of 2016.

For more than 17 years, he witnessed the growth of 150 to 2,500 employees and helped with managing and scaling the company.

Jim has always stayed current with the latest technology and holds certifications from Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Vmware, and PMI.

 In 2018 he received the Salesforce President’s Award and finished an Executive MBA from Purdue University Krannert School of Management.

In 2019, Jim earned the AWS Architect Professional Certification and started working on two of the most innovative Salesforce engineering projects that are a critical part of the company’s future growth strategy. 

Jim also became certified on AWS Machine Learning by passing the AWS Certified ML – Specialty Exam in 2020, as his responsibilities involve multiple Machine Learning platforms. 

Jim graduated from Anderson University in 1999 and has always maintained a connection to the computer science department. Jim has been married to his wife Chandra (Barkes), MD, for 21 years. 

Jim and Chandra met at AU and were active with the volleyball program, where she was a four-year starter and Jim worked as a student manager. They were both involved with the Dativus Service and Social Club, as well.

Chandra is now a family practice physician in Zionsville, Indiana. They have two sons, Rylan (14) and Kyson (12).

Previous Award Recipients

2019 Paul Saltzmann BA ’57
2018 Reverend Dr. James Earl Massey
2017 Richard Jason Lenz, BA ‘86
2016 Rev. Dr. Diana Swoope, Master of Religious Education ’81
2015 Deanna Edwards, BA ’65
2014 Dr. David Sebastian, MA ’77
2013 Dr. Fred Shively, BA ’61
2012 Connie Graham, BA ’75
MOSAIC Multicultural Alumni

Rev. Dr. Kevin Earley, Class of 2008

Dr. Kevin Wesley Earley is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He is an ordained minister of the Church of God Reformation Movement. He recently became the pastor of the Community Church of God in Atlanta, Georgia. Previously he served the historic Metropolitan Church of God in Detroit, Michigan, for 17 years.

Born in 1978, Rev. Earley has a management degree from Illinois State University and earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degree from Anderson University School of Theology. He authored Every-Member Ministry: Spiritual Gifts and God’s Design For Service in 2013. Pastor Kevin is the former president of the National Inspirational Youth Convention. Pastor Earley is a member of the Berean Fellowship, led by Bishop Timothy J. Clarke. 

An ardent fan of the Chicago Bears, Dr. Earley and his lovely wife Precious Ann have been graced with three lovely children: Kevin Wesley, Jr., Kaleb Van, and Ky Elise.

Previous Award Recipients

2019 Ben Orcutt BA ’11, Emily Wasonga BA ’09
2018 Lerone A. Martin, BA ’02
2017 Aleza Beverly, BA ’83
Outstanding Music Alumni

Douglas Beam BA ’04 is a music educator and composer who teaches music at the International School of Amsterdam. Prior to teaching in the Netherlands, he was head of the Music Department at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India, where he conducted the school’s Children’s Choir and lead a percussion ensemble as well.

Before teaching in international schools, Mr. Beam taught 1st-5th grades in public school in Indianapolis, Indiana.  He has been Assistant Director and accompanist for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, working with Henry Leck and Ruth Dwyer. As a performer, while living in the US, Mr. Beam was a regular chorus member of The Indianapolis Opera Company.

Beam is a graduate of Anderson University (IN), where he was Presser Scholar and also completed his levels training in Orff Schulwerk. He earned the Master of Arts in Music Education degree with emphasis in Kodály and Orff Schulwerk and Certification from the University of St. Thomas (MN).

Mr. Beam has presented workshops on composition, creativity, pedagogy and choral music at professional development conferences for music educators in the USA, Europe and Asia. He is a composer and arranger of choral music and his pieces have been published by Colla Voce, Hal Leonard and Boosey and Hawkes. His compositions have been performed by groups all over the world at venues such as Disney Hall (CA) and Lincoln Center (NY) and appear regularly on reading lists at music conferences in the United States. Mr. Beam has received commissions from schools, civic organizations and community choirs from various parts of the United States and other parts of the world. He loves writing for young voices.

When not teaching or composing, Mr. Beam enjoys cooking, traveling and being outdoors with his family.

Previous Award Recipients

2018 Jon McLaughlin, BA ’05
2017 David Leon Coolidge, BA ’57
2016 Valerie Maze, BA ’88
2015 Jay Rouse
2014 Dr. Rebecca Chappell, BA ’76
2013 Gloria Gaither, BS ’63, Doctor of Humane Letters ’89
2012 Bill Gaither, BA ’59, Doctor of Music ’73
Alumni Council Scholarship

Julia Kufeldt, Class of 2023

Julia Kufeldt was born into a long line of Anderson alumni including her father and two of her siblings. Her father, Tim Kufeldt, is the pastor of a Church of God congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio. From an early age, Julia often visited the campus and attended several camp meetings with her parents in addition to visiting her siblings in for their countless performances.

Attending a Christian college was priority for Julia and one thing that drew her to AU is its strong faith-life on campus and the music program, as she believes God is calling her into music. “I am passionate about composing and writing songs and with the new composition major that is being offered, it seems as though God has opened a door for me and is waiting for me to walk through,” said Julia.

Julia has three goals for her time at Anderson University. She aims to serve the Lord and become a strong Christian leader. She hopes to be trained in the music department and to be mentored by the professors at AU. Lastly, she strives to become intertwined into the AU community and form strong relationships here on campus.

Julia says, “I know that if I invest and apply myself to AU and all that it has to offer, I will leave as a stronger and greater person than when I began my journey here.”

Addison Lavelle, Class of 2023

Growing up in Anderson, Indiana, Addison Lavelle knew about Anderson University, but he didn’t consider attending AU until he stepped on campus. During his Discovery Day, Addison was warmly welcomed by faculty and staff and his college selection was affirmed by those who knew him.

Addison’is career aspirations in law enforcement led him to the office of President John Pistole, a man whom he greatly admires. “A sit-down meeting with this experienced scholar illuminated the potential for Anderson University to be a stepping stone in my life story, a foundation upon which I could start my path,” said Addison. “The knowledge of what this school can offer me in both academia and life has empowered my interest in pursuing a degree with Anderson University,” he said. “I see Anderson University as a school where education is fused with connectedness and belonging.

After graduating from AU, Addison plans on attending graduate school or starting his career in law enforcement.

School of Nursing Awards

2020 Nursing Awards:

Friend of Nursing Award: Jodie Reminder
Community Service Award: Colonel (Marjorie) Charlene Merrill (Ret.)
Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni Award: Amy (Rust) Voris, Class of 2009
Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award: John Ackerman, Class of 1975

2019 Recipients Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Marie Morris; Friend of Nursing, Matt Parker; Outstanding School of Nursing Award: Jody Zachary; Community Service Award: Statflight.

2018 Recipients Friend of Nursing: Bruce Carr BA ’61; Community Service: Pat Bennett; Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni: Kay Hite AS ’81; Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Jan Bronnenberg

2017 Recipients Friend of Nursing: Nancy Mumbower AS ’76; Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Nancy Pitcock; Alumni Community Service: Ashley Wilson BS ’12; Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni: Aaron Wilson BS ’03

2014 Recipients  Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Beverly Travis MSN-MBA ’07; Friend of Nursing: Keith Trent; Distinguished Nursing Alumni: Todd Mossoney AS ’86

2013 Recipient Paige Dooley MSN-MBA ’01

2012 Recipients Lifetime Achievement in Nursing: Beth Leavell; Service to the Community: Becky Bartle; Distinguished Nursing Alumni: Mike Fights MBA ’07; Friend of Nursing: Janet Brewer BA ’77

Honorary Degree Recipients
2018 Bishop Timothy J. Clarke, Doctor of Divinity
Dr. Todd R. Clear BA ’71, Doctor of Humane Letters
Margaret A. Lewis, Doctor of Humane Letters
2017 The Rev. Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Doctor of Humane Letters
Regina Troutman Snowden, Doctor of Humane Letters
2016 Leonard Sweet, Doctor of Divinity
Rev. Arnetta McNeese Bailey, Doctor of Divinity
2015 Dr. James L. Edwards, Doctor of Humane Letters
2014 Susan Ellsperman, Doctor of Laws
Esther K. Augsburger, Doctor in Fine Arts
Rev. Arlene Hall, Doctor of Divinity
Dr. Kenneth F. Hall, Doctor of Divinity
2013 Andrea Morehead, Doctor of Humane Letters
Dr. Robert McCurdy, Doctor of Science
Athletics Hall of Fame
Jennifer Ferguson BA ’05

Ferguson is a 2005 graduate and former standout of AU’s women’s soccer program. Ferguson is the program’s all-time leader in game-winning goals with 15 – eight more than the closest Lady Raven. She is second all-time in points (122), goals (50), points per game (1.55) and goals per game (0.64). She ranks fourth all-time in assists (22). Her 77 games started and 6,783 minutes played are both all-time records. She holds single-season records in points (47), goals (20), game-winning goals (seven) and shots attempted (82, twice). She still holds the record for most goals in a game, scoring five against St. Mary’s of the Woods on Sept. 28, 2004. She set the school record for points in a game that day with 12.

Tim Fox BA ’82

Fox is a 1982 graduate and former track and field star. He has held the school indoor high jump record (6-10 1/4) since the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in March of 1979. He has held the outdoor mark (7-0 1/4) since 1982. He is a three-time All-American, was named all-district four times and all-conference twice. Currently a professor at the university, Fox won the high jump at the Little State Championships in 1982. He was ranked in the Top 4 among all NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) high jumpers in the spring of 1982. He earned indoor All-America honors in 1979 by finishing sixth in the nation and followed it up with a fourth-place finish in 1980. In 1982, he was named a Track and Field Academic All-American. He was a four-time District 21 champion in the high jump.

Jeff Howard BA ’08

Howard starred for the men’s basketball team from 1981-86. He was named an NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) All-American for the 1985-86 season and was an all-district, all-conference performer and team MVP from 1984 to 1986. He was the Ravens’ captain for the 1985-86 season, during that season he was voted the District 21 NAIA Player of the Week. He ranks No. 6 on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,615 points. He scored 635 points, tied for fourth-most in a season, during the 1985-86 campaign, averaging 21.2 points for the season. Howard returned to AU to complete his degree in 2008.

Al Jones BA ’99

Al Jones is a 1999 AU grad and former men’s soccer standout. Jones was a three-time all-conference selection and three-time team MVP. He is the school’s all-time leader for intercepts (222). The former goalkeeper is also the program’s all-time leader in shutouts (18) and saves (444). Jones played in 66 games, including 63 starts and played 5584 minutes for the Ravens.


Other Recognition

The 1993 football team went 10-0 in the regular season and won the ICAC (Indiana Collegiate Athletic Conference). It was AU’s first-ever undefeated regular season. AU averaged 35.3 points per game that season while giving up only 16.5 per contest. The team members and their families who returned to Homecoming 2018 were organized by Chris Conkling BA ’95.

The Heritage Era recognizes female student-athletes that participated prior to having association with a conference. AU will celebrate those that represented various sports and are graduates from the years 1975 to 1979.

View previous Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees.

Alumni Awards Criteria

The following awards may be presented annually to individuals that best fit the descriptions and criteria for each Distinguished Alumni Award.

You do not need to be an alum of the university to nominate an AU alum for an award.

Anderson University Distinguished Alumni Award

The following criteria are used in selecting the Distinguished Alumni Award recipient:

  1. An alumnus of Anderson University having completed a minimum of 24 semester hours
  2. One who has given distinguished service to humanity through his/her profession and/or personal achievement
  3. One whose contribution reflects well on the University

Anderson University Distinguished Young Alumni Award

The following criteria are used in selecting the Distinguished Young Alumni Award recipient:

  1. An alumnus of Anderson University having completed a minimum of 24 semester hours, and is under the age of 40
  2. One who since attending Anderson University has distinguished him/herself through professional and or personal achievement
  3. One whose contribution reflects well on the University

Anderson University MOSAIC Multicultural Alumni Award

The following criteria are used in selecting a MOSAIC Multicultural Alumni Award recipient who embodies the ideal of “modeling and promoting an environment in which all people feel welcomed and affirmed on the journey toward intercultural humility:”

  1. Intentionally fostering the values of diversity and racial harmony which are so deeply rooted in the history and theology of Anderson University and the Church of God.
  2. Extending hospitality by interacting in meaningful ways with people whose lives have been shaped by cultures different from their own.
  3. Engaging in scholarship or community engagement addresses issues of reconciliation, cross-cultural understanding, and/or racial justice.
  4. Serving as an advocate and change agent for marginalized communities.
  5. Challenging individuals to recognize automatic assumptions, perceptions, and stereotypes about people with different cultural worldviews.

Anderson University Distinguished Service Award

The following criteria are used in selecting the Distinguished Service Award recipient:

  1. Past or present member of Anderson University faculty or staff
  2. One who has given outstanding service to Anderson University
  3. A person who has characterized the values and ideals of Anderson University

John H. Kane Loyalty Award

The following criteria are used in selecting the John H. Kane Loyalty Award recipient:

  1. An alumnus or friend of Anderson University
  2. One who has given distinguished service to Anderson University