Anderson University Announces Annual Alumni Awards


Anderson, Ind. — Anderson University (AU) has announced the honorees of its annual alumni awards to be celebrated at this year’s Homecoming event on October 9 at 4:30 p.m. in York Performance Hall. All honorees were nominated by peers for their respective award before selection by the AU Alumni Council. 

“AU’s alumni awards recognize the ‘best and the brightest’ of our nearly 30,000 alumni, who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields,” said President John S. Pistole. “They have helped make the world a better place to live and work, being the light and salt of Christ to a world in need of God’s redeeming love. It is our joy and honor to present the awards to these difference-makers.”

“The 2021 alumni award winners collectively are living out the mission of Anderson University with excellence and servant leadership,” said Trent Palmer, director of Alumni Relations. “To a person, each recipient has made an impact in their communities and circles that is transforming lives and showcasing what makes an AU graduate remarkable.”

Distinguished Alumni Award: Angela (Lehr) Ellison ’94

Angela (Lehr) Ellison BA ’94 has been a police officer with the Fishers Police Department since 1996. She is the department’s longest-standing female officer and is proud of that legacy. Ellison was recently granted the title of CISM coordinator for the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Critical Incident/Memorial Team, and Wellness Coordinator for the FOP.  

Through her service, Angela has been afforded tremendous opportunities outside of the agency to bring awareness of the stresses of police work, and most importantly, to support officers in need. Ellison teaches classes on self-care, stress management, and suicide prevention to police chiefs and officers.  

Distinguished Young Alumni Award: Jacob McCall ’16 and Mia (Klaes) McCall ’17

After two missions trips to the Dominican Republic (DR) in 2018 and 2019, Jacob ’16 and Mia (Klaes) ’17 McCall each felt an undeniable calling from the Lord to move to the DR, which they answered on January 3, 2020.

In early 2020, Jacob unexpectedly had a large seizure as a result of an undiagnosed brain tumor. At the same time, Mia found out they were expecting their first child. After a successful surgery to remove his tumor, the couple returned to the DR to continue their ministry. Later that year, Jacob and Mia welcomed their baby girl, Zion Jo, into their lives. The McCalls are still serving as missionaries in the DR, educating and developing English curriculum for the children they teach. 

John Kane Loyalty Award: Zach Gray BA ’10

Zach Gray BA ’10 is co-founder and managing partner of Zinc Partners, a Salesforce consulting firm. Zach graduated from AU with honors and a degree in computer science. Prior to founding Zinc, Zach was chief technology officer (CTO) of MS Companies. In this role, he was named CTO of the Year in 2017 by the Indianapolis Business Journal. He also worked for Interactive Intelligence after graduation from 2010 to 2012.

Over the past three years, Zach has offered his expertise creating virtual Salesforce-based internship classes for computer science students at AU, making the university’s computer science program unique and distinctive from other programs.

Distinguished Service Award: Rev. Jimmy O. Terry ’93

An ordained minister, Rev. Jimmy O. Terry has the opportunity to preach and teach in New York City and across the country. For over 20 years, he and his wife, Rev. Joyce A. Terry have served congregations, children, youth, and young adults, both nationally and internationally, through music, missions, and ministry.

Rev. Jimmy Terry serves as director of T.R.U.S.T. Ministries, a 501-3C non-profit organization that resources other nonprofits and faith-based organizations through consultation, leadership development, and on-site training. Prior to ministry, Jimmy Terry served AU’s Office of Admissions from 2000–2004.

MOSAIC Multicultural Award: Rev. Elsa Johnson Bass ’72

Rev. Elsa Johnson Bass BA ’72 grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and planned to be an elementary school teacher. However, her love of the theater changed her path. Starring in a leading role in Erie ignited her desire to study theater in New York City.

Rev. Bass is currently an associate pastor at Christ Center Church of God in Philadelphia, and has a seasoned career as a pastor, educator, and founder of various theaters and theatrical programs. In 2014, she retired after 40 years as an educator, and in 2016, founded the Cross Culture Christian Theater with a mission to engage, entertain, and empower people while sharing the transformative power of the gospel.

The Presidential Civic Engagement Award: John Maidlow ’79

John Maidlow BA ’79 came to Anderson College in 1975 and met several lifelong friends in Dunn Hall. He blossomed as a student and even became student body president for one year. He and his wife, Susann Hepler, met on campus and married in 1977. Soon after graduation, Maidlow joined the family business, Lehman’s Inc., and immediately excelled within the company, first becoming an owner, and then eventually the sole owner and president. Sadly, John Maidlow passed away January 21, 2021. During his lifetime he was a proud AU alum who supported AU personally and through his business. Susann Maidlow will accept this posthumous award on his behalf.

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.