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

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For all the ones who've gone before.

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
Distinguished Alumni

Dr. James Edwards BA ’65, MDiv ’70, LHD ’15 (Doctor of Humane Letters)

Dr. James L. Edwards, Anderson University’s fourth president, believes deeply in the university’s vision to educate and develop learners for a life of faith and service in the church and society. Dr. Edwards has invested his life to help students become servant leaders who discover in the modeling of mentors and educators how to think, learn and create, making a lasting positive impact in the world.

As young children, Jim Edwards, his sister Carolyn, and two brothers, David and Bob, were brought to the campus for the annual Church of God camp meeting, being reminded by their mother that one day this would be their college. Their pastor’s family was devoted to the church and to all she had to offer. Remarkably, the Edwards children fulfilled their parents’ dream to attend and graduate from Anderson College. Each of them met their spouses there, all earning AC degrees. Jim and wife, Deanna (Monteith), began college at AC in 1961 and were married between their junior and senior years, both then graduating in 1965.

Throughout the decades that followed, Jim pursued the continuation of his education while working in service to the church. During his years as a graduate student in the School of Theology, completing his MDiv degree in 1970, Jim began his work at Anderson College in the office of Admissions, and later served in Alumni and Church Relations. He served in pastoral assignments in Anderson and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and then served for 14 years as Senior Pastor at Meadow Park Church of God in Columbus, Ohio. During those years leading a thriving congregation, Dr. Edwards earned his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. He was honored there to receive the Earl W. Anderson Award for Research in Higher Education.

In 1989, the Edwards family moved back to Anderson for Dr. Edwards’ appointment as President of Warner Press where he had previously served on the board for many years. In the summer of 1990, he answered the call to accept the presidency of Anderson University, becoming the fourth President of his alma mater.

The Edwards years at Anderson University began a period of growth of the campus, facilities and programs. A record enrollment required development of resources with three comprehensive financial campaigns which supported campus improvements and advanced programs. The campus nearly doubled in size.

Residence halls were improved. Additional academic facilities helped to advance such programs as Business, Nursing, Music, Theater and Dance as well as student life improvements. Athletic teams moved into state-of-the-art wellness facilities, and artificial turf and lights were added to Macholtz Stadium. The Flagship Enterprise Center continued an AU partnership with Purdue University and served to benefit the economic development of the community. Programs for business and theology were advanced to the doctoral levels, and majors were added in Engineering and Dance. All of this was moved forward by gifted and committed staff and faculty, and generous donors, including alumni and business leaders.

This was a period of amazing student enrollment growth, with graduates in a variety of majors, including a host of pastors, teachers, nurses, doctors, artists and servant leaders in many professions. President Edwards was incredibly involved in student life, often seen on the sidelines at many athletic events at home and across the country, attending music and theater performances, opening his home for student gatherings, and even participating in campy Cheap Thrills sketches. It was this accessibility that garnered him the honored nickname “P. Eddy” amongst students and staff.
Over the span of a quarter century, President Edwards led the effort to raise more than $215 million. Campus projects throughout these years included the following:

Rebuilding and expanding Hartung Hall
Adding the Welcome Center to Decker Hall
Rebuilding streets that surround the campus
Completing University Village condos
Constructing the Flagship Enterprise Center
Building York Seminary Housing
Completing and accommodating The Elizabeth York Literature collection and facilities
Building the Kardatzke Wellness Center
Completing York Recital Hall and Galleries
Adding the Dance Studio

During his 25 years as AU’s president, Dr. Edwards also served state and national associations of higher education, and he continued to give support to national church organizations. At his retirement in 2015, Dr. Edwards was recognized for seniority among all Indiana college presidents.
Dr. Edwards and his wife Deanna celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary this year. Deanna has maintained a lifetime focus of education and service to children and families. As first lady at AU, she was an active ambassador to the campus and wider community, beloved by students, faculty, and staff. She can still be found storytelling on a weekly basis, furthering Christian education through Godly Play at her community church. Jim and Deanna are proud to have three adult children, Cory ‘90, Todd ‘94, and Katie ‘96, all with AU degrees, each with a remarkable spouse, Vicki, Cameron, and Timothy ‘95 respectively. They are very blessed to have 6 grandchildren – Eva, Elliot, Linus, Josephine, Nate, and Grey.

Though Jim and Deanna now call Los Angeles home, they continue to keep their hearts tethered to the work of Anderson University. The mission of developing learners for a life of faith and service remains a passion and calling that extends through the generations. The extended family includes several AU alumni and School of Theology alumni who have all been impacted by the unique Anderson education that models service in all vocations.

President Edwards considers it an honor to have had the opportunity for all these years of service and counts it a joy to be numbered among those who support and serve through this remarkable institution.

Previous Award Recipients

2023 Dr. James Edwards BA ’65, MDiv ’70, LHD ’15 (Doctor of Humane Letters)
2022 Janeth (Simpson) Brown ’86
2021 Angela (Lehr) Ellison BA ’94
2020 Jeff Howard BA ’08
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

Kevin Sheward BA ’13, MBA ’14

Kevin Sheward showed from an early age a strong desire to serve and lead others. In the 4th grade, Kevin made passionate speeches from the top of the playground slide to be selected for class president; a role that didn’t exist. His first election was sobering; the candy and no-homework platform of his opponent led to a 22-1 drubbing in the polls. Four years of unsuccessful student government elections in high school (in a graduating class of 65), Kevin came to Anderson University still longing to fulfill his dream of idealistic politics and hoping to flip the script. And he did. 

At AU, Kevin was elected as a freshman class senator and immersed himself in campus life through intramurals, ultimate frisbee, campus activities, and the brotherhood of Dunn Hall. In his junior year, Kevin was elected for the privilege of serving as student body president. That experience was one of the highlights of his time at AU and was instrumental in his development as a leader and redefined his understanding of service. Studying political science and nonprofit leadership, Kevin had found his niche: being an advocate for good in the community. 

After graduating in 2013, Kevin continued his AU story through the residential MBA program, hoping to strengthen the skills he could bring to nonprofit work. It was through the MBA program that he met Alex Hammel, his future wife. Thanks to an introduction by then President Edwards, Kevin began his professional career with the Madison County Community Foundation, guiding the foundation’s grants and scholarships programs. Kevin loved the opportunity to work alongside so many organizations reaching those in need and seeing the talent of students from across the county. Kevin’s impact on the foundation was expanding the community’s awareness and utilization of its resources. “Grant Madness” was his claim to fame, a social media contest supporting Madison County nonprofits that garnered regional radio and national print coverage for its success in expanding the social media following of dozens of nonprofits in the county. It was during his time at the Foundation that he was selected to participate in the Madison County Leadership Academy and selected for Madison County’s “20 under 40” in 2017.

Kevin took on a new challenge and joined Aspire Indiana Health in 2016. Aspire is a non-profit healthcare organization serving more than 20,000 unique individuals in central Indiana, whose mission is making health and well-being a reality. Now in his eighth year with the organization, Kevin has served in multiple business development roles and has been a fierce champion for those in need in our communities. Through grants, fundraising, contracts, and other revenue streams, more than $70 million has been raised by Kevin and his team to support primary care, behavioral health, housing, employment, child advocacy, and addiction recovery programs. Aspire’s growth was instrumental in Kevin’s selection as a fellow for the Geiger Gibson Health Policy Fellows Program through George Washington University in 2020. 

Outside of work Kevin has served on a number of boards, church teams, and on the Anderson University Alumni Council. He is a problem solver at heart who loves helping those around him and organizations be their best selves. 

The focus of this last year for Alex and Kevin has been parenthood, welcoming Charlie Thomas into their lives in May of 2022. It has been their joy the last year in introducing Charlie to some of their favorite places on campus and planting the seeds now for their own little raven.

Previous Award Recipients

2023 Kevin Sheward BA ’13, MBA ’14
2022 M. Andrew Gale ’06 ’08
2021 Jacob and Mia (Klaes) McCall BA ’16 and ’17
2020 LaNesha Tabb BA ’06
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

Dr. David Baird BA ’80

As a P.K. (preacher’s kid), a young David Baird spent many summers on campus during Church of God camp meeting before enrolling at Anderson College in the fall of 1976. After a couple false starts, his final major ended up being Speech/Broadcasting. He graduated in 1980 and then spent some time in his home state of Michigan before coming back to work on the Anderson College communication staff. In 1990, after beginning grad school, he joined the faculty as an instructor in communication. He went on to teach at AU for 33 years, retiring this past May as department chair.

Dave’s wife, Inge, actually started teaching at AU before Dave did…and she continues to teach for the Department of Modern Languages.

Dave and Inge have two adult children:

  • Heike, an Anderson grad who is married, is the mother of 2-year-old Aquinas, and lives in Los Angeles
  • and Wesley, now 32, who was born with a genetic syndrome that left him with special needs of various kinds; Dave and Inge continue to care for him at home

Dave always felt that he was doing the Lord’s work at Anderson. He enjoyed teaching, recklessly dropping Dad jokes, mentoring, leading Tri-S trips to Europe, advising student publications, playing basketball with students and colleagues for many years, and serving as chief of the chain crew for AU football games.

Dave says he felt deeply the responsibility of being a college professor, and he tried to do his best during his tenure at Anderson—but that if he failed anyone along the way, as he surely did, he humbly asks for their forgiveness. He’s exceedingly grateful to Anderson University for giving him the opportunity to do his life’s work at this good place.


Previous Award Recipients

2023 David Baird BA ’80
2022 Jerry Fox BA ’79
2021 Rev. Jimmy O. Terry BA ’93
2020 Lisa Ragsdale BA ’83
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

Sandy (Moore) Baker BA ’62

Sandra Moore grew up and graduated from high school in Eustis, Florida in 1958. Raised in a pastor’s home, Sandy followed her brother, Jim Moore, to Anderson College after being encouraged to attend there by various musical groups from A.C. who visited their church.

On her first day on campus, Sandy met her future husband H.L. Baker – he taught her
how to play Rook in the rec hall.

Sandy’s college involvements included Arete Pep, social club, Anderson College Choir, class officer, traveling with Melodaires Trio, two summers to visit churches, youth camps, and encourage students to come to A.C.

Sandy and H.L. married during her junior year; H.L went into to six months active duty with National Guard while she continued in school. Sandy worked in the Alumni Office part time pounding out addresses on the Address-o-gram machine (no computers then.)

H.L. returned to A.C. to begin his working career while she finished her senior year, and Sandy graduated from A.C. in 1962 with degree in elementary education. She worked in various short term jobs while awaiting birth of their first child, Brent. Sandy spent the next years as a stay-at-home mom caring for Brent and their second child, Becky. During those years, Sandy was very involved with North Anderson Church of God which is now Madison Park. She used her education to teach Sunday School, direct Vacation Bible School, and serve on boards as well as being part of the musical  program every week. She has continued to be involved in a variety of ways; on the building committee for the new facility, former chair of the bereavement committee.

As H.L.’s work involved dealing with students in many ways, the Bakers enjoyed inviting students into their home for meals, conversations and larger gatherings. Some of those students became life long friends that they still keep in contact with. They have continued to attend activities on campus such as sporting events, musical concerts, plays and occasional chapels.

Sandy began her teaching career after 15 years of subbing and earning her Master’s Degree with a library certification from Ball State while being a stay-at-home mom. She first subbed in elementary and middle school before spending ten years as librarian at Madison Heights High School. Sandy then changed careers and began a 23 year stint as a realtor with F.C. Tucker/O.C. Clark.

Sandy retired in 2014 and spent some time being a volunteer with Killbuck Kindergarten Center. Most recently, Sandy became a Charter Member of the Anderson University Women’s Philanthropy Council, and she currently serves as one of the co-chairs of this group.

She is excited to find ways to support the University with physical and programmatic improvements as well as extra “home-made comfort food” around finals weeks. Sandy remarks: “I have been blessed to be a part of the Anderson University community along with H.L. and our family. Both Brent and Becky are AU graduates along with our three grandsons. We were honored to receive the William Reithmiller Award for Community Service and recently had an award named for us that goes to a faculty member and a staff member chosen by the student body. We believe in this place that has given us opportunity to grow and to serve in many ways.”


Previous Award Recipients

2023 Sandy (Moore) Baker BA ’63
2022 Brian Schultz BA ’06
2021 Zach Gray BA ’10
2020 Jim Ostrognai BA ’99
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

Amber May BA ’05, MBA ’09

Amber May is a proud graduate of Anderson University. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in 2005, followed by a Masters of Business Administration in 2009. She is the eldest of two sisters, one being fellow AU alum Ashley James. As a first generation college student, Amber was drawn to Anderson for many reasons: feeling sought after to be a part of a family, being accepted by so many in the community, and the opportunity to acquire friend and mentor relationships. These relationships have lasted decades! 

As a student, Amber participated in the music ensembles Fruit of the Spirit and AU Gospel Choir. She was supported and guided by Jimmy and Joyce Terry. Amber could also lean on Michelle Williams and Cassandra Day while participating in multicultural initiatives on Anderson’s campus. Faculty such as Dr. Lewis, Dr. Morehead, Sharon Collins, and Lisa Pay pushed her to learn and serve at her best potential. Amber was supported, guided, and equipped by AU’s social work department to learn and lead in service to the greater Anderson community. 

Following graduation, Amber worked in Indiana as a social worker for seven years. Her foundation as a social worker provided nearly every tool needed to work and excel in all of her career paths. 

Amber then began a career in higher education at Anderson University. As resident director for Rice Hall, she was able to lead and establish relationships with talented RAs. Amber attributes her leadership development as both an RA and RD to leaders such as the late Linda Cummins, Brent Baker, and various other Department of Student Life leadership. She is grateful for her AU education and preparation. 

From her start in student development, Amber transitioned to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) roles in higher education. She has led at multiple institutions including Temple University, Marquette University School of Dentistry, and Carroll University in centering diverse identities. 

In 2022, Amber left higher education and began her DEI career in manufacturing. Currently, Amber May is the DEI Manager of Learning & Engagement for Clifbar Mondelez, which covers brands such as Clifbar, Oreo, Sour Patch Kids, and more. She leads the diversity programming, inclusive training, and advocacy for marginalized groups throughout the company. Her favorite part of the job is hearing personal stories of employees and collaborating with colleagues in varied departments to lead equitable workshops. She is a tireless advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and appreciates AU’s recognition of her work and passions.


Previous Award Recipients

2023 Amber May BA ’05, MBA ’09
2022 Dr. Mamie Thorns BA ’73
2021 Rev. Elsa Johnson Bass BA ’72
2020 Rev. Dr. Kevin Earley, Class of 2008
2019 Ben Orcutt BA ’11, Emily Wasonga BA ’09
2018 Lerone A. Martin, BA ’02
2017 Aleza Beverly, BA ’83
Outstanding Music Alumni


Previous Award Recipients

2022 Melvin Chappell
2021 Tony Small ’84
2019 Douglas Beam BA ’04
2018 Jon McLaughlin BA ’05
2017 David Leon Coolidge, BA ’57
2016 Valerie Maze, BA ’88
2015 Jay Rouse ’86
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
2011 David R. Coolidge, BA ’87
2010 Shelby Rhoades, BA ’96
2009 Becky Archibald, BA ’83
2008 Barbara Douglas, BA ’62
2007 Paul E. Yerden, BA ’59
2006 Sandra Haynes Miller, BS ‘ 63
2005 Dr. Thomas A. Miller, BS ‘ 63
2004 Sallie Vines White, BA ’82
Nursing Awards


Previous Award Recipients

2022 Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award: Dr. Patricia Kline
2022 Friend of Nursing award: Dan Courtney ’81
2022 Community Service Award: Pat Anderson, RN
2022 Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni Award: John Suko ’75, ’76, ’93
2020 Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award: John Ackerman ’75
2020 Friend of Nursing Award: Jodie Reminder
2020 Community Service Award: Colnel (Marjorie) Charlene Merrill (Ret.) ’54
2020 Outstanding School fo Nursing Alumni Award: Amy (Rust) Voris ’09
2019 Community Service Award: Statflight
2019 Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni: Jody Zachary ’15 and ’18
2019 Friend of Nursing Award: Matt Parker ’15
2019 Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award: Dr. Marie Morris
2018 Friend of Nursing Award: Bruce Carr BA ’61
2018 Community Service Award: Pat Bennett
2018 Outstanding School of Nursing Alumni Award: Kay Hite AS ’81