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

Tom Hamer BA ’75

Tom Hamer is a distinguished alumnus of Anderson University for many reasons. First and foremost, Tom has worked for the people of Anderson for over 37 years and continues to serve the community today as an attorney specializing in personal injury, auto accident, and medical malpractice. In 2004, Tom was further honored by being elected to the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association College of Fellows, membership of which is limited to “attorneys through experience and training are outstanding members of the Trial Bar,” and is a past president of the Madison County Bar Association. Tom was named the President of the ITLA in 2019. Tom has served the area of Madison County and Anderson, IN through his profession for many years, as well as made generous donations back to Anderson University. Nothing is more dear to his heart than being able to give back to his community.

Since the loss of Stephen, Tom and his family have helped pediatric research make great strides toward cures for cancer, as well as help many families battling cancer to live out their wishes and dreams. Tom’s late son, Stephen, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, at the age of 15. While there are a great many well-deserving charities, there are two that are particularly near and dear to his heart: The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Riley Children’s Foundation.

Driven by a desire to help save lives while honoring his son’s memory, Tom and his family have made many generous gifts to pediatric cancer research at Riley Hospital as well as Make-A- Wish. There is a stem cell transplant unit in the Simon Family Tower that bears Stephen’s name. “No child should get cancer,” says Tom. “We’ve got to keep pushing ahead. I want to do my part to support pediatric research so that someday they will be able to say, ‘We found it. We have a cure.'”

Previous Award Recipients

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

Chance Benbow BA ’10

Chance Benbow is the Executive Vice President of Account Services at JDA Worldwide, where he oversees the management of many of JDA’s full-service accounts reinforcing strategic insights, quality communications and building strong relationships with the firm’s valued partners. Chance has led the company in new business generation in 2019, driving new client relationships in strategy, consulting, and creative.

In addition to JDA, Chance is also the co-founder of Intersection- an award winning, boutique marketing agency in Muncie, IN. Since 2011, Intersection has represented multiple Inc. 500|5000 clients throughout the country, resulting in strong profitability and significant revenue growth every year since its founding.

Before JDA, Chance served as the Vice President of Marketing at Mainstreet- the nation’s premier developer of post-acute health care properties and Indiana’s Fastest Growing Company. He oversaw the management of Mainstreet’s family of brands, and all marketing and communication initiatives and was one of six members on the company’s executive leadership team.

Before Mainstreet, Chance worked at the Brand Innovation Group in account services on General Electric’s rebranded line of HVAC technology. He also managed projects for Do it Best Hardware, David C Cook Publishing, and other publicly traded brands.

Chance, his wife Kyler, and son Decker live in Indianapolis, IN. The Benbows are actively involved with EDGE Mentoring, Shepherd Community Center, Biglife and the Indiana Air National Guard. Chance serves on the Board of Directors for Agape Therapeutic Riding and Treefort Indian, and he and his wife are members of Soma Church in Indianapolis, IN.

Cassandra Rigsbee Spracklen BA ’09

Cassandra has distinguished herself through numerous personal and professional achievements. After graduating with her BA in ’09, she completed both a master’s degree (MS in Epidemiology, ’11) and PhD (Epidemiology, ’14) at the University of Iowa. There, her work helped advance the understanding of reproductive epidemiology adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes. This work resulted in 20 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Following completion of her graduate degree, Spracklen has continued her research career as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has gained new expertise in human genetic analysis. Her work there has focused on understanding the genetic determinants of cardiovascular disease and related traits–her contributions in this area have significantly advanced our understanding of how genetic differences contribute to these diseases in different populations. This work has been supported by two fellowships awarded by the American Heart Association totaling more than $190,000 and has resulted in more than 8 peer reviewed publications in scientific journals (an additional 7 are pending). Cassandra has become a nationally and internationally recognized scholar, presenting her work at numerous international conferences (13 oral presentations and 12 poster presentations).

This fall, she joined the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology, where she will lead a research group that will continue to examine genetic differences in cardio-metabolic traits (i.e., diabetes, cardiovascular disease) across diverse populations.

Over the course of her graduate and postdoctoral training, Cassandra has received numerous awards including the Milford E. Barnes Award for Academic Excellence in Epidemiology (University of Iowa, ’14), the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists David Liu Prize Paper (’18), the Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence (UNC Chapel Hill, ’18), and was a finalist for the American Society of Human Genetics Charles J. Epstein Trainee Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Research (’18).

Cassandra is married to Andrew Spracklen, whom she met at AU, and they have one daughter, Rosalind.

Previous Award Recipients

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

Joe Royer BA ’96

After more than 35 years of service, Joe Royer, Executive Director of Facilities & Property Management is receiving the Anderson University Distinguished Service Award. Joe intends to retire from Anderson University October 31, 2019.  Joe has served faithfully and with a servant’s heart, putting in many hours to make sure that snow was removed, water was mopped up, lawns were mowed, damages were repaired, and new buildings were prepared for service. Additionally, Joe has built long-standing warm relationships with many students, faculty and staff both in his position as director of faculties and as an adjunct faculty in the Adult Education program.

His service to the campus and his love for the university is prevalent in any interaction with him. He not only has served the campus community, but the community at large providing service during Colts Camp, summer camps, camp meetings of the past, conferences, etc.

“The AU community is a special group of people, all focused on accomplishing the mission. At the same time, the love and care for each other as we strive toward that common goal is boundless,’ he said.

Joe has also received the Anderson University John A. Morrison Award (2003 – Staff) and the Anderson Community Schools Hall of Fame (2012). He completed his Masters of Business Administration from AU in 1996. Joe is married to Margo, and they have two daughters and one son:   Royer. They have five grandchildren: Gage, Ike, Crew, Camden, and Kendall.

Previous Award Recipients

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

Paul Saltzmann BA ’57

Born July 8, 1935, in Cleveland, Ohio, Paul Saltzmann was the son of George and Naomi Saltzmann, and developed a love of music, theater, film, and baseball early on. As a teen, he sold peanuts at Cleveland Indians baseball games and remained a loyal fan throughout his life. He graduated from Anderson College, now Anderson University, in 1957.

There began his lifelong love of teaching. After teaching high school math for two years in Bellefontaine, Ohio, he returned to Anderson College in 1959 to teach mathematics, which he did for the next 60 years. He loved teaching and never had plans to retire. Two days prior to his passing, he turned in his last set of final grades. In 1966, he taught math for a year in an African secondary school in Kenya, where he contracted malaria and was briefly taken prisoner with a group of nuns during a period of political unrest.

He loved the Lord, and interacting with the scores of students he taught at Anderson over the course of six decades. For over 20 years, he took students to a local nursing home to sing hymns and visit with residents. Never owning a new car, and rarely spending money on himself, he was always generous with his time and treasure with others. Matthew, chapter 25, was his guide. For decades, he visited inmates in prison, and never let those on the margins of society become invisible to him.

Paul W. Saltzmann, 83, of Anderson, passed unexpectedly from this earthly life on May 17, 2019.

Paul was also a loving father and grandfather who is survived by his son, Dr. Kurt Saltzmann, and three grandchildren, Michael, Kathryn, and William Saltzmann; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, Eric Saltzmann, attorney-at-law, and his sister, Aloma Alford.

Previous Award Recipients

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

Ben Orcutt BA ’11

Ben Orcutt is the owner of Buckskin Bikes and co-owner of Jackrabbit Coffee, located next door to each other in downtown Anderson, Indiana.

While attending Anderson University, Ben studied Fine Arts. It was a summer job in 2006 at The Mercy House that opened his eyes to the diversity of Anderson, Indiana beyond the perimeter of AU’s campus.From then on, Ben concerned himself with the Anderson community and needs of the city. Ben also started the Shadeland Bicycle Collective, a bicycle advocacy nonprofit while a student at AU.

After graduating from Anderson University, Ben purchased an older building in downtown Anderson, and the Shadeland Bicycle Collective transitioned into Buckskin Bikes. The business began to thrive (and continues to do so) and Ben built partnerships with other bicycle and recreational organizations in Anderson.

It is out of Buckskin Bikes in which Jackrabbit Coffee was born- a small cart located within the bike shop. Soon, customers visited the shop solely for the coffee cart, and Ben partnered with fellow AU alumnus Joshua Stafford ‘05 to move Jackrabbit Coffee into its own location. Both businesses are thriving change-agents in downtown Anderson.

In addition to the Anderson University MOSAIC Multicultural Alumni Award, Ben has also been awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year and Emerging Business of the year.

Ben lives in Anderson with his wife Hannah and their son Charlie.

Emily Wasonga BA ’09

Emily Wasonga was nominated for the MOSAIC Multicultural Alumni Award due to her continued contributions to society at large. Emily owns and operates a store in downtown Noblesville, Love’s Hangover Creations, where she has served in the council and positively bring diversity inclusion among other members.

Emily and her sister, Irene, grew up in Kenya and South Africa and immigrated with their family to the United States. Together, the sisters created a retail business out of their love for design and making others feel beautiful.

Emily has continued to foster awareness on acceptance and openness in all individuals for a better community. Most recently, she was called upon by the Noblesville School District to assist in speaking to students after the horrific shooting incident in one of the schools. She developed a plan to promote dialogue and help students appreciate each other’s positions in a culturally diverse setting. Students from different backgrounds (racial and socio-economical) were able to get a safe platform to air their grievances and also to start a dialogue that will enable healing and more tolerance towards each other. Emily called upon a team of different people to assist with the project, due to her warm personality and her faith.

Previous Award Recipients

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

Since 2009, Statflight has been a partner organization with the School of Nursing, educating our students about flight nursing and mass casualty response.  Every year, Statflight employees show our students the aircraft as well as the supplies used to care for critically ill patients while in-flight.
Because of the enthusiasm they share for their jobs, several of our nursing graduates have become flight nurses, caring for our local and regional Indiana communities.

Jody Zachary
Jody Zachary is honored for her contribution to the community, exemplifying the School of Nursing mission statement:  Educating individuals committed to competence and compassion in the nursing profession, serving God and society. When called by the Lord to be a nurse, she knew she wanted to be somewhere that would incorporate her faith. Jody has served as a mentor for our students in the area of nursing for those who are incarcerated at the Youth Opportunity Center. During that time, she has collaborated with our students to create new policies and processes to improve health outcomes. Additionally, she has shared with our students her compassion and knowledge about caring for those who are victims of human trafficking. She has chosen a career that is both challenging and rewarding, utilizing her knowledge she gained while attending AU as an undergrad and a master’s student.

Matt Parker
Matt was selected as the Friend of Nursing because of his continual help to the school of nursing.  He was essential to the success of many simulations when problems arose with equipment and filming.  He made himself available immediately always with a smiling face and willingness to troubleshoot and check back when difficulties presented themselves.  He played a key part in the redesign of the Nursing Simulation Lab Control Center and continues to show support for the growth of our program. With involvements in Swing Club, Prison Ministries, and various bible studies here on campus, Matt was originally drawn to AU by another Alum he met at the church he was involved in. Matt continues to inspire and lead our students here at AU as an Instructional Technologist.

Marie Morris
Marie has been honored as a Community Shining Star for three years, as she represents exactly what a leader should be. Currently serving as a Provost here at Anderson University, Marie has certainly put her Ph.D. in Nursing Administration, among several other academic degrees and achievements, to good use. With past experience as a fellow in Executive Leadership, as well as Women in Leadership, Marie’s hardworking tendencies and strive for a  learning environment with realized potential acts as an inspiration for those who wish to follow in her footsteps.

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