Anderson University Announces 2023 Alumni Awards


Anderson, Ind. — Anderson University has announced the honorees of its annual alumni awards to be celebrated at this year’s Homecoming event on October 7 at 5 p.m. in York Performance Hall. All honorees were nominated by peers for their respective award before selection by the AU Alumni Council. 

“The 2023 class of alumni award recipients are a stellar group who have and continue to dedicate their lives doing good in the world,” said Trent Palmer, director of alumni relations. “We are so excited to celebrate their accomplishments at Homecoming this year and would invite all to join the ceremony to hear first-hand accounts of how these five have embodied Anderson University’s mission of faith and service in the church and society.”

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

Dr. James L. Edwards, Anderson University’s fourth president, and wife, Deanna (Monteith), began at Anderson College in 1961 and were married between their junior and senior years, both then graduating in 1965. 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. 

After obtaining his doctorate at Ohio State University, Edwards answered the call to accept the presidency of Anderson University, becoming the fourth president of his alma mater, in the summer of 1990.

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. Over the span of a quarter century, Emeritus President Edwards led the effort to raise more than $215 million for campus improvement projects.

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 Anderson University.

Read more of President Edwards’ story

Distinguished Young Alumni: Kevin Sheward BA ’13, MBA ’14

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. 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, a non-profit healthcare organization, in 2016. Now in his eighth year with Aspire Indiana Health, 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.

Read more of Kevin’s story

Distinguished Service Award: Dr. David Baird BA ’80

David Baird enrolled at Anderson College in the fall of 1976. He graduated in 1980 and then spent some time in his home state of Michigan before coming back to work on the AC communication staff. In 1990, after beginning graduate 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 also served as the faculty advisor for the student newspaper, the Andersonian. Dave felt deeply the responsibility of being a college professor, and he tried to do his best during his tenure at Anderson. He’s exceedingly grateful to Anderson University for giving him the opportunity to do his life’s work at this good place.

Read more of Dave’s story

John H. Kane Loyalty Award: Sandy (Moore) Baker BA ’62

Sandra (Moore) Baker enrolled at Anderson College after being encouraged to attend by various musical groups from AC who visited her church. On her first day on campus, she met her future husband, H.L. Baker. Sandy’s college involvements included Arete Pep, Anderson College Choir, and traveling with Melodaires Trio. In 1962, she graduated with a degree in elementary education.

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 lifelong 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 most recently became a charter member of the Anderson University Women’s Philanthropy Council, and she currently serves as one of the co-chairs of the group.

Read more of Sandy’s story

MOSAIC Multicultural Award: Amber May BA ’05, MBA ’09

As a student at Anderson University, Amber May participated in the music ensembles Fruit of the Spirit and AU Gospel Choir. 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. Amber then began a career in higher education at Anderson University. 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, she is the DEI manager of learning and 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.

Read more of Amber’s story

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.