The alumni awards ceremony took place during homecoming chapel on Oct. 20.
It was wonderful to be at chapel and see how responsive students were, Faye Chechowich, professor emeritus of christian ministries, said.
“(The alumni awards) gives students this picture of what alumni go on to do after they graduate,” Chechowich said.
Six people received awards this year. The two recipients of the G. Roselyn Kerlin Women in Leadership award were Kim Barnett-Johnson ('89) and Dr. Jennifer Clamme ('97). The Distinguished Service Alumnus went to Derek Hoffmann ('98) and the Distinguished Service Young Alumna went to Kara Metzler ('13).
The alumni council looked for dedicated, long-serving employees and volunteers to receive the honorary alumni awards, Mike Falder, vice president for advancement, said.
This year, Rod and Donna Boatwright received an honorary alumni award, which has not been awarded since 2018, Brad Yordy, executive director of alumni relations, said.
All the recipients are nominated by alumni and voted on by the alumni council.
“It’s a neat opportunity to celebrate the diversity in the body of Christ,” Yordy said.
Yordy observed that the winners this year showed a theme of resilient faith through hardship.
The awards are a big celebration and an opportunity for alumni to come back to Taylor with their families to celebrate their accomplishments, Yordy said. They eat lunch with the Board of Trustees, and share their stories with them.
Additionally, the alumni recipients were asked to lead a Lifelong Learning session during Homecoming, where they share insight from their various fields.
“(The winners) are an example of this larger Taylor body that is out doing Kingdom work,” Yordy said.
Unlike previous years, two women received the G. Roselyn Kerlin Women in Leadership award; normally, there is only one recipient. Clamme received the award posthumously. She knew she won before her death on June 26.
Yordy estimated that the council receives 30 to 40 applications for the different awards each year. The council reviewed and voted for the winner in one of their two in-person meetings per year in the spring.
To be on the council, a person must be an alumnus nominated by the alumni council or reached out to by Taylor. Taylor wants the members of the council to represent the diverse make-up of the alumni body through their gender, ethnicity, age and profession. Their objective is to see Taylor thrive and flourish.
The council serves as an advisory board by giving their perspective as alumni on issues and decisions at Taylor.
Taylor does a lot to maintain relationships with alumni. This is done through experiences, such as homecoming reunions or events in different states. Some alumni volunteer to speak in classes and be on councils and boards.
The university also maintains communication with alumni in various ways. One way is through the Taylor magazine which is distributed to alumni three times a year. Additionally, Yordy said he hopes alumni can contribute philanthropically. Ideally, alumni would participate in all areas, he said.
Falder hoped that alumni would live out the mission by proclaiming Jesus, serving in the church, being a servant leader and doing extraordinary work in their fields.
“We are, as Christians, to be involved in our communities in ways that use our gifts for the benefit of others,” Chechowich said.
Yordy would love to see more alumni award nominations. Alumni can submit nominations for 2024 through Mar. 31, 2024.