Alumni Awards

Alumni Award recipients group picture

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

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

Janeth (Simpson) Brown ’86

Janeth Simpson Brown was born in Chapelton, Jamaica to the loving family of a Church of God pastor, Rev. Fergus A. Simpson, who served his community for over 50 years. She matriculated at Anderson University in 1982 with the encouragement of Dr. James Earl Massey, who submitted her application to AU. This education was a huge venture for a family whose income averaged $6,000 (American dollars) per year, however they were united in their resolve to make her attendance possible. Attending Anderson University was the dream of many students within
the Church of God in Jamaica, and for Janeth, it was a dream come true.

Janeth worked at the library with Periodicals librarian, Trish Janutolo. She became involved in
the International Students Association, and the Student Government Association (SGA) where she served as the first chairperson of the Student Senate. AU created a non-catalog major for her, allowing her to be the first graduate with a double major in International Business and Spanish. Janeth served as youth leader, choir director, Sunday School Teacher and Worship Leader at Arrow Heights Church of God (now Celebration of Life Church). She was a member of Fruit of the Spirit and toured with them from Maine to Louisiana, ministering in song and promoting AU. She also played in a Steel Band formed by the late Rev. Paul Armogum.

Janeth met her husband Jerome, Class of ‘72, at Arrow Heights Church of God and discovered she had seen him years prior when he played basketball at her school in Jamaica on a mission trip. Jerome and Janeth got married in the beautiful mountains of Jamaica in 1992 and resided in Mississippi until their move to Tennessee in 1996 where their blended family of 6 reached its full complement of 8: Jerome, Janeth, Cesha, Channelle, Clifton, Danielle, Samuel, and Joshua. Joshua is currently a junior at AU, double majoring in Spanish and history and playing soccer.

After graduating from AU, Janeth earned her master’s degree in Language and International
Trade from Eastern Michigan University followed by further studies in the areas of Management and Marketing from Mississippi State University. She is on track to complete her Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Walden University. Janeth also worked in education as an adjunct instructor at Mississippi State and Belmont University, Assistant Director of International Business Programs at Tennessee State University, and Instructor at Grace Christian Academy in Franklin, TN.

Janeth always loved Jamaica. In 1989, she started serving alongside her father in the community of Chapelton and began an intense program to challenge youth to dream and to make a difference. One by one they came, and they believed her and the God she told them about. It was this belief that led to the formation of the Symphony of Praise, a group of youth inspiring youth to be their best selves in the areas of the performing arts and academics.

The impact of this group is resonating in Jamaica today through the work of the Fergus Simpson Foundation, Inc. FSF, is a 501(c)3 Tennessee-based organization; it was founded in 2002 to carry on the combined work of Symphony of Praise and her father. Symphony of Praise members, now in their mid 30’s-early 40’s, are change-agents in society, with tertiary degrees ranging from Doctorate to Educational Diplomas.

FSF activities include: an annual Summer Enrichment camp in partnership with Clarendon College – the local high school, and the Church of God in Jamaica; economic uplift programs like the “Shark-Tank-styled” Jamaica Entrepreneurs Development Initiative (JEDI) in partnership with The Parker Avery Group from Atlanta, GA, educational assistance to libraries and schools, through partnership with Retail Orphan Initiative, USA.

FSF’s future programs include a commercial college, a school for underprivileged students to access a top-tiered primary education, community social enterprise and cultural programs, and a documentary project with Jordan Bick, current AU film student. With God’s help and a committed team of over 60 volunteers, her family, including her sister Carol and husband Lawrence, who serve as Directors of FSF’s Jamaica Board of Directors, and her son Joshua who leads the FSF USA Youth Board, FSF presses toward those things that are ahead. After serving alongside Jerome, her love of 37 years, in ministry at Born Again Church in Nashville, as interim pastors at 8 th Avenue Church of God, as supporters of her father-in-law, Rev. J. D. Brown, and as coworkers in the work of the Fergus Simpson Foundation, Janeth bid Jerome adieu on March 8, 2021 as he departed to his heavenly home. Along with being President of FSF, Janeth continues serving at their church in Nashville, TN as Elder, Pastoral Care Counselor and Young Adult Director.

One of Janeth’s lasting memories from AU was the day a lady who was a beloved legend in her eyes and in the hearts of those in the Church of God in Jamaica, stepped into the Periodicals Department of the, then, Charles E. Wilson Library, and cupped Janeth’s hand in her face. Phyllis Newby, a missionary from Jamaica to Haiti, whom Janeth had never met but who called Janeth’s father, “Uncle Fergus,” had somehow found out that Janeth was at AU and made a point to seek her out upon one of her return trips to the campus. The sacrament of that moment, with Phyllis standing barefooted in the library, holding Janeth’s face in her hands and pronouncing a blessing, still lingers over everything Janeth feels she is called to do.

Another pivotal AU memory that has lingered is Steve Green’s performance of, “Find Us Faithful,” a song that has become FSF’s theme song, capturing their vision of “Treasuring the Past, Training the Future and Transforming the community – TR3” Janeth’s prayer is that “all who come behind her, will find her faithful.”

Previous Award Recipients

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

Andrew Gale ’06 ’08

Andrew Gale is the executive director at Global Strategy, the international arm of
Church of God Ministries, Inc. He is married to Autumn, and they have two kids, Eleanor
(10) and Elias (6). Andrew moved from Kansas to attend Anderson University, joining
over 60 people in his family to attend at least a semester at AU. Andrew grew up in the
Church of God. His mother (Roanne Lighty Gale) recently retired from her role as a
children’s pastor after 31 years and his grandfather (Roy Lighty) served as a pastor for
45 years.

While at AU, Andrew studied Bible and religion and Spanish. He participated in Avanti
Boosters, played lots of intermural volleyball, and was a member of the improv troupe
Randomonium. After finishing his undergraduate degree in 2006, he completed a
master of intercultural service from the Anderson University School of Theology in 2008.
His time at AU was pivotal in his spiritual growth, helping him discern and process a call
to empower the church to serve vulnerable communities globally. During his studies at
AUSOT, several professors, including Dr. MaryAnn Hawkins, challenged him to think
critically about global work, encouraging him to engage in practical ministry before
pursuing further education. And that is what he did.

Andrew served as the interim youth pastor at Park Place Church of God during his
years at AUSOT. He met his wife while on a mission trip in Mexico during that time, and
after his graduation from AUSOT, they married and served at Church at the Crossing on
the north side of Indianapolis for five years. After the birth of their first child, Andrew and
Autumn moved to Wilmore, Kentucky, where Andrew pursued a PhD in intercultural
studies with a focus on international development at Asbury Theological Seminary. His
dissertation focused on the ways that Wesleyan-Holiness millennials practice justice. He
has been published in academic journals, including an article on John Wesley’s use of
the phrase “justice, mercy, and truth” and another on orthoproxy as a part of ethical

While writing his dissertation, he joined the team at Global Strategy in Anderson,
Indiana, to support their international development work and moved into his role as
executive director in 2017. At Global Strategy, Andrew oversees more than 55 global
personnel serving in 22 countries, 50 international development projects in 24 countries,
and partners with national leadership in nearly 90 countries. The mission of Global
Strategy is to walk alongside the local church globally, helping churches become locally
led and sustained, regionally connected, and missionally engaged. Andrew serves
communities and leaders around the world and helps churches across the United States
and Canada partner with the ministry of the global church.

As part of his role at Global Strategy, Andrew, along with missionary Nate Tatman,
hosts a podcast called A World of Good that highlights what ministry leaders are doing
around the world, advocates for their work, and brings awareness to ways people can
support, pray, and engage the work of these global leaders.
Andrew has a passion for justice and for people and is humbled to get to see the work
God is doing globally. Anne Fadiman, in her book on the Hmong people, writes about

finding oneself at a point of intersection: “I have always felt that the action most worth
watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather
fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in these
places, and often, if you stand at the point of tangency, you can see both sides better
than if you were in the middle of either one.” It is an honor to stand at those points of
tangency, where cultures and people meet, and see God at work.

Previous Award Recipients

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. Jerry Fox ’79

Student Jerry Fox arrived on the, then, Anderson College campus in August of 1975.  He moved into Smith Hall, next to the gym and locker rooms.  Along with his football teammates, he was here two weeks before fall classes began for two-a-day practices.  Sweating together on what is now our soccer field, he quickly made some lifelong friends.  They have now stayed connected for more than forty years and still get together regularly.  Calling themselves the AU Outlaw Alumni Association, there isn’t a finer group of friends to call upon for prayer and to share the highs and lows of life together.  For you Outlaws here in the room or those watching online, know that you are loved.  Keep soaring, guys.

Coming as a student was actually Jerry’s third arrival on campus.  His parents married while they were students here at AC. The next year they welcomed him into their family and brought their baby boy into their 28 foot trailer in the married students’ trailer court, known as “The Haven.” It was located where the Kardatzke Wellness Center now stands.  A few years later, while in elementary school, Jerry again roamed campus for the second time in the late 60s when his parents returned to AC for two years of seminary studies.

As he graduated from high school Jerry’s decision to come here for college made him–along with some cousins–part of the third generation of his family at Anderson, beginning with his grandfather who graduated from Anderson Bible Training School in its early days.  His wife Debbie, chair of AU’s English Department, is also an alum.  Four of their six children are now part of the fourth generation. And some cousins studying here on campus today are part of the fifth generation of Ravens in the family.

Service both on and off campus began right away for Jerry.  To help pay expenses he worked as a janitor in Dunn Hall, in the campus post office, and for three years as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Bennett Natatorium.  He was an RA and discipleship group leader and, perhaps his favorite, joined a group of guys known as God Squad.  Along with their ministry and service projects both on campus and in churches across much of the country, he helped lead a God Squad mission trip to The Philippines where they demolished a church (on purpose, to clear space for a newer, bigger building!), taught in a Christian school, and built a playground for kids.

As a business and accounting major, Jerry’s advisor and mentor was Dr. Glenn Falls, for whom the Falls School of Business is named.  As Jerry approached graduation Dr. Falls recommended him to the school’s VP for finance.  The day after his graduation he began work in the Office of Development as Director of the Annual Fund.  For the next six years he helped to raise funding to support student scholarships, the Tri-S international travel program and building programs such as the construction of Reardon Auditorium.

As these projects wound down Jerry began entertaining job opportunities in banking and brokerage.  Again seeking career advice from his mentor, Dr. Falls instead asked him to consider joining him as a teacher on the business faculty.  So, for the next decade he taught here full time as he completed an MBA and Ph.D.  He’s now beginning his 38th year on a faculty where he has served on nearly every standing committee and was selected by his faculty colleagues as their chair and representative to the executive cabinet and board of trustees.

Jerry is the Director of Business Internships and works to connect students with businesses and non-profit organizations in mutually beneficial ways.  Students learn skills and gain confidence even as they help organizations grow and better serve their clients and customers. Many alums that have had this opportunity as students now reach back to create these work/learning experiences for those behind them. Being a link between these generations is one of Jerry’s great joys here at AU.

As Director of Global Business Studies, Jerry has taken hundreds of students to dozens of countries around the world to meet and learn from business, government and educational leaders.  A number of our alums had their first international experiences in these travel seminars.  Some now head companies with global operations.

But clearly his favorite place to serve students and the broader community is in his role as a Certified Financial Planner teaching the principles of financial stewardship and life planning.  He often says that he does everything else he’s asked to do at AU just so he can teach that course each semester.  Homecoming is one of his favorite times of the year as former students find him at the street fair.   Many tell him, “of all the papers I wrote in college, the only one I still review is the three-year financial plan we did in the Personal Finance course.  It gave me a roadmap to begin my career and family life.  And now I’m reaching my goals!”

Beyond AU you can find Jerry serving through the ministries of churches here in Anderson and beyond.  He and Debbie have been teachers, worship leaders, counselors, board members and volunteers in the ministries and mission efforts of East Side and Madison Park Churches.


Previous Award Recipients

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

Brian Schultz ’06

Brian Schultz, a 2006 graduate of Anderson University, has long been a part of the Raven community. He enrolled in 2003 at the recommendation of friends, Josh Rouse ‘05 & Alex ElNaggar ‘08 to study computer science & information systems. While on campus, Brian was actively involved in a variety of activities, including Novus Dux, Wind Ensemble, Open Door ministry, ACM, and the Table Tennis club where he served as president his senior year. 

After graduation, Brian became a software engineer working for Interactive Intelligence later acquired by Genesys and is now completing his twelfth year at the company. From 2013 to 2015, he facilitated an internship program at Purdue University inspiring him to begin the process of bringing an on-campus internship to AU in the fall of 2015 with the help of Jim Ostrognai ‘99, Chris Estelle ‘04, and Professor Charles Koontz whom Brian studied under in college and has continued to respect throughout the years. Due to Brian’s leadership, this paid internship program continues to succeed by employing current AU students then helping them acquire jobs in the field after graduation.

Brian and his wife, Tisha ‘08 continue to enjoy being part of the Anderson University community while raising their two children, Mara & Colin. In his spare time, Brian enjoys playing guitar in the praise team at his local church and being an active part of the Madison County pickleball community.

Previous Award Recipients

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

Dr. Mamie Thorns ’73

Dr. Mamie T. Thorns serves as the Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Saginaw Valley State University. Having joined SVSU in 2002,
Thorns has over 30 years of extensive administrative experience in higher education. She has
served as an adjunct faculty member for SVSU’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business, as well as
an instructor for the Gerstacker Fellowship Program, an SVSU-sponsored leadership
development initiative for K-12 educators.

As Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr.
Thorns leads SVSU’s programs related to diversity, equal opportunity and Title IX. She serves as
the primary adviser to the president and leads a community-based advisory council that focuses
on matters related to maintaining and enhancing a diverse and dynamic campus environment.
Dr. Thorns serves as Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council at SVSU. The DE&I
Council is composed of 75 students, administrators, faculty, and staff. This DE&rI team both
advise and implement innovative programs for the campus and Great Lakes Bay Region. Under
her leadership, an abridged list of highlights include:

  • Worked with the SVSU Recruitment Council to establish measurable goals for the
    recruitment of Black, Hispanic and other communities of color; and supporting the
    retention and graduation goals outlined in the SVSU Retention Plan.
  • Secured funding for and completed an Inclusive Excellence study for the university.
    Study results will be used for university strategic planning in 2022.
  • Opened the SVSU Multicultural Student Center in Fall 2021.
  • Updated the Inclusion Advocate (IA) Program and hiring practices.
  • Advocated for workshops, courageous conversations and other learning opportunities
    to enhance the curriculum, climate and centrality of diversity on campus.
  • Designed and guided a Black Studies Major through the curriculum process.
  • Created a Global Diversity and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Research Award, and
    developed “Spotlight on Diversity” feature for the Diversity Programs website.’
  • Developed a series of “listening sessions” with a variety of underrepresented populations
    on campus.
  • Collaborated with the Office of Human Resources on the SVSU Leadership Development
    Program which welcomed its first two classes in the Academic Year 2021-22.

Dr. Thorns has been instrumental in the creation of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth
Leadership Institute, an SVSU initiative that was established in 2005. This institute has grown to
serve nearly 100 junior and senior high school students each year from Saginaw, Midland, and
Bay counties.

Dr. Thorns collaborates with the CEOs of the Saginaw, Bay, and Midland community foundations
to host the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Celebration, now in its 13th yea       r. She has
taken primary responsibility for negotiations with the keynote speaker at the event. The
list of notable speakers includes Maya Angelou, Stedman Graham, Freeman A.
Hrabowski, III, Valerie Jarrett and Van Jones. The campus and region were extremely excited about hosting
Condoleeza Rice in January of 2022.

Another outreach event that has grown in size and popularity under the leadership of Dr.
Thorns is the annual Taste of Soul, which provides the on-campus community as well as the
general public with an opportunity to experience African-American cultural recipes in the
university’s dining hall.

In 2011, Dr. Thorns was designated as the university’s Title IX coordinator. As Title IX
coordinator, she monitors and leads the overall implementation of the university’s Title IX
compliance, including training, education, communications, and the administration of grievance
procedures for faculty, staff, students, /55 and other members of the university community.
Dr. Thorns also remains active in the classroom, teaching courses on managing diversity and
inclusion. She offers her expertise as a consultant to local, state and national businesses,
community organizations and schools for which she conducts diversity and inclusion training

Dr. Thorns has received several awards including the 2022 Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr. Distinguished
Service Award from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, the 2022
MLK Unity Award from the Lota Chi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the 2021 NAACP
Saginaw Heroes Award, the 2018 Michigan Banner Leadership Award, the 2018 Innovation-
Inclusion Leadership Award from the Society of Diversity, the 2013 YWCA Women of
Achievement Award and the 2012 Live United Community Award by the United Way of Saginaw
County (recognizing her leadership and contributions to the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth
Leadership Institute). Other awards include the 2007-2008 Reuben Daniels Community Service
Award, the 2008 Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Award, the 2011 Saginaw County Bar
Association’s Liberty Bell Award, the 2009 NAACP Saginaw Branch President’s Award. Under Dr.
Thorns leadership, the university has also been awarded the 2022 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher
Education Excellence in Diversity Award. This is the third time SVSU has been the recipient of
the prestigious HEED Award, having also been recognized in 2013 and 2018.

Dr. Thorns is a member of the Phi Delta Kappa Honor Fraternity, The National Association of
Diversity Officers in Higher Education, and the Saginaw Promise Zone Authority Board. She is
also actively involved in several community organizations such as Rotary International Club;
Gold Life Member of NAACP Saginaw; Bridge Center for Racial Harmony; and the Tri-City
Chapter, The Links, Inc. Dr. Thorns was also a past board member of the United Way of Saginaw
County; past chair of the Saginaw Community Foundation, Hidden Harvest Board, the Dow
Community Advisory Board, and an active member of Bethel AME Church.

In her personal time, Dr. Thorns mentors underrepresented students and adults in the
community. She is married to Odail Thorns, Jr., who retired in 2012 as director of development
for the city of Saginaw, Michigan.

Previous Award Recipients

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