AU honors Surbaugh family, student

Wed, 2012-07-25 10:44 -- univcomm
Anderson University annually honors an outstanding student and a lasting community partner. On Saturday, the university honored a family and a pre-medical student with special awards at the President's 2003 Annual Appreciation Dinner. But the dinner wasn't just for them, it also was to honor the Anderson community at large. "This is really our opportunity to stretch a hand of thanks out to the community, and this is the president's (Dr. James L. Edwards) opportunity to do that," said Chris Williams, director of Communications for Anderson University. Doris Surbaugh, wife of the late Realtor George Surbaugh, and their daughter, Georgeann, accepted the William P. Riethmiller Community Partnership Award Saturday night. The award is designed to honor individuals who have helped build partnerships between the university and the Anderson community.

"The Surbaughs didn't set out to help link AU and the Anderson community, but the connections continued to grow," said Edwards said of the family.

Doris Surbaugh said she was surprised when the university wanted to honor her and her family.

"I didn't realize they honored families, I thought they honored corporations, businesses, that type of thing or somebody who made a big donation," Doris Surbaugh said.

She said the relationship with the university is more than just donations.

"It has nothing to do with money," Surbaugh said. "It's your relationship with the college as a community." "I think the university does a great job to include the community and to invite them into their family," daughter Georgeann Surbaugh. "Mom and Dad both thought they were lucky to have so many different opportunities to be included in this community."

Anderson University junior Matthew Runyan accepted the Madison County Medical Society Distinguished Scholar Award. The 21-year-old said he plans to go to medical school and eventually become an orthopedic surgeon.

"This scholarship is just absolutely incredible," Runyan said. "It was a complete surprise," said Runyan, who found out about a month ago about the scholarship.

"I'm just extremely grateful for everybody that's here that donates money not only to scholarships like this, but also to my fellow students."

Runyan said he has not decided on a medical school yet, but is considering Indiana University and a few others. After traveling last summer to Guatemala on a health care mission trip with Hands of Hope, Runyan said he plans to return there often to continue giving care to its people.

"I plan on giving back to the world everything I possibly can, and thank the Lord for blessing me in the many wondrous ways that he has," Runyan said. "This award will definitely help me pursue this goal and will help me assist those who are not as fortunate as I. I will not forget the blessings I've received."

---Writer Kate House is a Staff Reporter for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin.